Skip to Main Content
Summary form only given. When using microelectronic components in a radiation environment, such as those experienced by components in space, components used in nuclear reactors and components used for high-energy physics experiments, specific degradation mechanisms must be mitigated to assure proper component performance over the lifetime of the part. Over the last thirty years, the preferred method for fabricating radiation-hardened parts has been by using boutique, dedicated foundries with specialized processes. The approach is often referred to as hardening-by-process. However, due to the small demand for radiation-hardened components and the exponentially increasing costs of advancing along Moore's, the number of these dedicated foundries has decreased dramatically and they remain more than three generations behind state-of-the-art CMOS. Recently, a novel approach for fabricating radiation-hardened components at commercial CMOS foundries has been developed. In this approach, radiation hardness is designed into the component using non-standard transistor topologies, the addition of guard rings and the application of novel circuit techniques. This presentation began with a description of the space and terrestrial radiation environments, followed by a discussion on the effects of different radiation sources on CMOS technologies. This included a discussion on total-ionizing dose, single-event upsets, single-event latchup and single-event transient radiation effects. Specific non-standard transistor topologies and the application of guard bands to mitigate total dose effects were discussed. Circuit approaches to mitigating single-event effects were also presented. The application of these design approaches does not come without area and performance penalties, which were quantified as part of this presentation. Unique reliability issues associated with the application of hardness-by-design methodologies were also discussed. Finally, a discussion on mitigating terrestrial radiation effects was presented.