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The effect of proton energy on single-event latchup (SEL) in present-day SRAMs is investigated over a wide range of proton energies and temperature. SRAMs from five different vendors were irradiated at proton energies from 20 to 500 MeV and at temperatures of 25° and 85°C. For the SRAMs and radiation conditions examined in this work, proton energy SEL thresholds varied from as low as 20 MeV to as high as 490MeV. To gain insight into the observed effects, the heavy-ion SEL linear energy transfer (LET) thresholds of the SRAMs were measured and compared to high-energy transport calculations of proton interactions with different materials. For some SRAMs that showed proton-induced SEL, the heavy-ion SEL threshold LET was as high as 25MeV-cm2/mg. Proton interactions with Si cannot generate nuclear recoils with LETs this large. Our nuclear scattering calculations suggest that the nuclear recoils are generated by proton interactions with tungsten. Tungsten plugs are commonly used in most high-density ICs fabricated today, including SRAMs. These results demonstrate that for system applications where latchups cannot be tolerated, SEL hardness assurance testing should be performed at a proton energy at least as high as the highest proton energy present in the system environment. Moreover, the best procedure to ensure that ICs will be latchup free in proton environments may be to use a heavy-ion source with LETs ≥40 MeV-cm2/mg.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2005