Radiation-resistant chips for sturdier satellites

June 14, 2001

Space is a tough environment for electronics. A burst of radiation from a solar flare can damage a satellite's delicate circuits and knock years off its working life. Now research by a University of California, Davis, engineering student is pointing the way to more radiation-resistant microchips.

Anne Vandooren, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, studied how heat, gamma rays, X-rays and proton irradiation affect microchips built with silicon-on-oxide (SOI) technology. SOI chips are used for low-power applications such as cell phones, pagers and personal organizers.

Radiation damages microchips by creating electrical charges in the insulation between transistors, said engineering professor Jean-Pierre Colinge, who supervised the project. His laboratory has previously developed ways to build SOI microchips where transistors are in less contact with insulation.

During her research, Vandooren was able to develop a general model of how radiation affects analog circuits. Analog circuits allow digital systems to connect to the real, analog world, Colinge said.

"If we expose circuits to a level of radiation, we know what to expect," said Colinge. This meant that they could design entire systems that were more resistant to radiation damage, he said.

Vandooren carried out irradiation experiments and measurements at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena. Other collaborators on the project were the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and the National College of Electronic and Radioelectricity Engineering in Grenoble, France.

Vandooren's thesis was selected as "best dissertation" at this year's College of Engineering commencement ceremony at UC Davis. After being courted by research labs and tech companies, she is now working on a related project for Motorola.
-end-
Media contacts: Jean-Pierre Colinge, Electrical and Computer Engineering, 530-752-7968, colinge@ece.ucdavis.edu; Andy Fell, News Service, 530-752-4533, ahfell@ucdavis.edua.

University of California - Davis

Related Radiation Articles from Brightsurf:

Sheer protection from electromagnetic radiation
A printable ink that is both conductive and transparent can also block radio waves.

What membrane can do in dealing with radiation
USTC recently found that polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can release acidic substance under γ radiation, whose amount is proportional to the radiation intensity.

First measurements of radiation levels on the moon
In the current issue (25 September) of the prestigious journal Science Advances, Chinese and German scientists report for the first time on time-resolved measurements of the radiation on the moon.

New biomaterial could shield against harmful radiation
Northwestern University researchers have synthesized a new form of melanin enriched with selenium.

A new way to monitor cancer radiation therapy doses
More than half of all cancer patients undergo radiation therapy and the dose is critical.

Nimotuzumab-cisplatin-radiation versus cisplatin-radiation in HPV negative oropharyngeal cancer
Oncotarget Volume 11, Issue 4: In this study, locally advanced head and neck cancer patients undergoing definitive chemoradiation were randomly allocated to weekly cisplatin - radiation {CRT arm} or nimotuzumab -weekly cisplatin -radiation {NCRT arm}.

Breaking up amino acids with radiation
A new experimental and theoretical study published in EPJ D has shown how the ions formed when electrons collide with one amino acid, glutamine, differ according to the energy of the colliding electrons.

Radiation breaks connections in the brain
One of the potentially life-altering side effects that patients experience after cranial radiotherapy for brain cancer is cognitive impairment.

Fragmenting ions and radiation sensitizers
The anti-cancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5FU) acts as a radiosensitizer: it is rapidly taken up into the DNA of cancer cells, making the cells more sensitive to radiotherapy.

'Seeing the light' behind radiation therapy
Delivering just the right dose of radiation for cancer patients is a delicate balance in their treatment regime.

Read More: Radiation News and Radiation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.