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Content archived on 2024-06-10

Laser testing of advanced circuits for radiation dense environment application


Objectives of the project are:
- To identify the degradation and malfunction mechanisms in Integrated Circuits (IC) submitted to Single Event Effect (SEE).
- To define a simulation tool for the evaluation of the radiations effects on electronic devices
- To set up a laser beam testing methodology
- To design a simplified test equipment to be used by I.C. manufacturers and users during development and production phases.
During the second period of the project, two different laser systems have been set. In particular, the data acquisition system, laser scanning system and operation mode (control software) have been implemented.
In the same time, a simulator, which allows to calculate error rate for IC transistors and to find their position in the device layout , has been developed.
In order to compare SEEs induced by heavy ions with SEEs induced by laser beam, both ion test campaign and laser test campaign were carried out on the same devices.
Results reached by the project appear as "promising" at a first step of assessment. In fact:
1) a reproducible behaviour concerning threshold value versus laser energy was detected during the test;
2) comparing circuit test results under heavy ions and laser radiation, a certain degree of congruence was empirically drawn.
Laser Testing can become a low cost test methodology of high quality advanced circuits to assess their capability to operate in radiation dense environment. Traditional heavy ions tests, using radioactive sources and particle accelerators, are very expensive and require particular safety provisions. Applications are up to now in space missions, which are moving toward wider commercial utilisation, while new applications may be found in nuclear, industrial testing, military systems and in other fields where high quality advanced circuits are sensitive to radiation effects.

Work Programme:
The project consists of an Exploratory stage 1 (8 months) followed by a demonstration (phase 2) to be terminated after 36 months. Stage 2 project proposes to reach the objectives broken down into 12 work packages.
European component manufacturers and space companies could obtain at medium term sensible benefits, of about 1 MECU per year, due to cost reduction of components used in Space programs, military and industrial electronic compartments.
The deliverables of the project are the basis for the exploitation and dissemination policy that will have as objective the adoption of the new methodology in all European space programs and at many European components manufacturers. Main action of the exploitation policy will be the development of Laser test equipment.

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