Radiation causes performance degradation of integrated circuits and modules through accelerated aging. The impact can cause leakage and threshold voltage shifts in ICs that can cause system failure. To mitigate these problems, Ridgetop offers design consultation services and products. These tools include satisfactorily addressing the following rad effects:
- Single-Event Effects (SEE)
- Total Ionizing Dose (TID)
- Transient Dose Rate (TDR)
Examples of Ridgetop design services in the radiation hardened areas, include recommendations on rad-hard by shielding (RHBS), rad-hard by design (RHBD) methods, and rad hard by process (RHBP):
- Ridgetop has experience in mixed-signal circuit designs for critical applications, including high speed, high linearity analog-to-digital converters. Our circuits have been designed for satellites, deep-space exploration, and high energy physics experiments. This expertise can leverage your internal development efforts.
- Design recommendations using newer advanced processes such as Silicon Germanium (SiGe), Silicon on Insulator (SOI), Silicon on Sapphire (SOS), and other advanced semiconductor processes.
Products serving the Rad-Hard community are ProChek™ Semiconductor Characterization system for radiation testing, InstaCell™ with radiation-hardened intellectual property (IP) blocks, and Sentinel Silicon™ that can provide advance warning of failure due to radiation effects.
- ProChek is modular system with a number of available instruments and offers a special method of creating test coupons using user-selected semiconductor processes. These processes can be evaluated for rad hard performance by placing the test coupon into the radiation test chamber and recording results of irradiation. ProChek can also be used to monitor test structures at the wafer level.
- The InstaCell library of analog / mixed signal IP blocks is based on Ridgetop’s expertise in mixed signal design and implementation. It includes silicon-proven designs of high-level and basic building blocks for leading processes to help you accelerate your RHBD / RHBP IC development projects.
- Sentinel Silicon is a library of die-level “canary” IP blocks that are designed to warn the host circuit and system of impending failure due resulting from both intrinsic and extrinsic aging effects. In particular, radiation-induced leakage and threshold voltage shift can be sensed and used as an early indicator that devices are approaching end-of-life.
Ridgetop maintains a staff that is skilled in the evaluation of radiation on microelectronics and complex systems.
- Under contract from a large prime contractor, Ridgetop analyzed the rad effects of body tie impedance for a commercial 90nm CMOS process. Ridgetop acquired the Process Design Kit (PDK) and other information, then performed various TCAD simulations and prepared a complete vulnerability report for the customer.
- Another prime contractor needed an independent assessment as to the rad hardness of a component to be used in a space satellite. Specifically, the issue was to determine the life of a space-deployed camera, given a certain number of orbits, a defined LEO orbital path and expected radiation flux. Ridgetop performed the Independent Analysis and provided the report to the customer.
Ridgetop customers for our radiation hardened products and design services have included the U.S. Air Force, NAVAIR, Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), NASA, ON Semiconductor, and the U.S. Department of Energy.