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can X-RAY lead to the Single Event Upset in circuit ?

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Junior Member level 2
Jun 20, 2011
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Hi everyone,

I am recently studying the radiation effect on the circuit. I know the high-energy particle, like neutron or proton, can lead to the Single Event Upset in circuit. the X-RAY, a type of electromagnetic wave with very high energy, may have the obvious the characteristic of particle, whether it can lead to the Single Event Upset in circuit or not ? thanks.

People simulate SEE with two-photon laser absorbtion (laser) but you need
a lot more than one photon (pair) to get enough energy to notice on one node.
I have never seen a single event effect at Co60 (1MeV) or 10KeV X-ray testing.

X-rays are not focused so it's extremely unlikely that you would see a single
event short of the point that illumination is "global", since you need multiple
photons in a device to have observable effect.
I believe it will affect. Even mobile radiation will influence sensitive analog circuit too.
It's all about energy. High energy electromagnetic wave can transfer the high energy to the matter and potebtially cause an upset on the silicon circuit, but cross-section of electromagnetic wave to the matter is usually not high enough for the high energy photon. Most of the interaction between the photon and the matter is with photoelectric effect that happens at high probability below 1MeV, and around 1MeV, the cross-section hits the bottom, and then increases slowly from there, but not by much. It means, overall, there is less chance for an high energy photon to interact with the matter.

if you look at the cross-section plot of gamma ray or X ray, you can see the probability.
Still, single event upset has a specific meaning and you have to
impart enough charge by collection of the ion / photon charge
track to perturb a node (or nodes). I have never seen a report
of single photon induced upsets, and I go to the key conferences
for this stuff every year.

If you look at how hard people work to make single photon
counting instruments, you'd expect that it's not a problem
for regular circuitry.

10kEv X-rays have a limited penetration depth. You have
to de-lid / de-process a packaged device or work at wafer
level to get full dose. Measuring transistor leakages in
real time during irradiation on an Aracor machine shows
nanoamps of incremental leakage at a very high dose rate.
The slower Co60 sources, you can't see a thing in terms
of real-time leakage increment. Microamps at full-chip

The key is, how much energy represents a "bit" (or LSB)
at the worst case sensitive point, and how much energy
you will collect off a single photon. If the transient made
by sweeping this energy (as e-h pairs from eV in material)
exceeds that "local bit energy" you have a probability of
Thank you dick_freebird,
In the book " Ionizing Radiation Effects in MOS Eevices and Circuits" it's mentioned a effect named DOSE-RATE UPSET,which is commonly used to refer to the loss of logic state information initiated by a high-amplitude, short-term pulse of ionizing radiation, most often photons in the γ-ray or X-ray range. Does it means that if the X-ray with high dose rate or a continuous radiation on a circuit will likely induce upset ?

Yes, it will, dose rate upset is a whole different problem
(global presence of spurious currents on all junctions).
And about that, I can't really say more since the likely
source of such radiation is a weapon (US ITAR).
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