Single event effects and radiation hardening methodologies in SiGe HBTs for extreme environment applications

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Phillips, Stanley David
Cressler, John D.
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Field-effect transistor technologies have been critical building blocks for satellite systems since their introduction into the microelectronics industry. The extremely high cost of launching payloads into orbit necessitates systems to have small form factor, ultra low-power consumption, and reliable lifetime operation, while satisfying the performance requirements of a given application. Silicon-based complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors (Si CMOS) have traditionally been able to adequately meet these demands when coupled with radiation hardening techniques that have been developed over years of invested research. However, as customer demands increase, pushing the limits of system throughput, noise, and speed, alternative technologies must be employed. Silicon-germanium BiCMOS platforms have been identfied as a technology candidate for meeting the performance criteria of these pioneering satellite systems and deep space applications, contingent on their ability to be hardened to radiation-induced damage. Given that SiGe technology is a relative new- comer to terrestrial and extra-terrestrial applications in radiation-rich environments, the same wealth of knowledge of time-tested radiation hardening methodologies has not been established as it has for Si CMOS. Although SiGe BiCMOS technology has been experimentally proven to be inherently tolerant to total-ionizing dose damage mechanism, the single event susceptibility of this technology remains a primary concern. The objective of this research is to characterize the physical mechanisms that drive the origination of ion-induced transient terminal currents in SiGe HBTs that subsequently lead to a wide range of possible single event phenomena. Building upon this learning, a variety of device-level hardening methodologies are explored and tested for efficacy.
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