What are Radiation Hardened Components?

What are Radiation-hardened electronics or rad-hard electronics?

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- everything RF

Mar 10, 2022

Radiation-hardening is the process of making electronic components that are less susceptible to the effects of radiation. In this process, the hardened chips are often manufactured on insulating substrates, instead of conventional CMOS semiconductor wafers. Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) and Silicon-on-Sapphire (SOS) are commonly used in the manufacturing of radiation tolerant components. Space-grade SOI and SOS chips can survive radiation exposure levels between 1000 and 3000 grays (100 and 300 krad). Bipolar integrated circuits generally have higher radiation tolerance than CMOS circuits, and many ECL devices can withstand 10,000 krad.

Gray (Gy) is the international system of units (SI), and one gray is equal to the absorption of 1 Joule of radiation energy by one kilogram of matter (1Joule/Kilogram). 1 Gray is equivalent to 100 rads.

Radiation-hardened electronic components have low failure rates across several years in radioactive and harsh environments. This makes them ideal for use in space applications (satellites), aerospace and medical applications, defense electronics, and control circuits of the nuclear reactors.

Radiation exposure levels in the sea, air, and space