Radiation Hardness Assurance


Insights into a Laser Radiation Inspection System

Sebastien JONATHAS1




The pulsed laser technique [1] has become a common way to test Integrated Circuits (ICs) for single-event effects (SEEs) as a complementary approach to the standard particle-beam testing method. The increasing use of the pulsed laser technique for SEE testing is motivated by its ease of use and access in a laboratory environment, when compared to the cost and availability constraints of particle accelerator testing, and by its unique ability to provide spatial and temporal information about the SEE sensitivity of ICs. The development of the laser technique can also be explained by the availability of industrial turn-key systems that make this technique accessible to non-experts.

This talk presents our PULSYS-RAD system for pulsed laser SEE testing. The system design results from our long experience in SEE laser testing and its capabilities have been field-proven on many different IC technologies [2-7]. The main elements and specifications of the all-fiber optical chain and the microscope are presented. The system includes the PULSBOX-PICO and/or PULSBOX-2P smart laser sources, respectively for Single-Photon Absorption (SPA) and Two-Photon Absorption (TPA) testing. Pros and cons of each of those approaches are discussed. The main features of the PULSWORKS software, which provides a complete user interface to control the system as well as for data acquisition and visualization, are described and its many laser-scanning possibilities are reviewed through different use cases.

Finally, the long-standing question of laser to heavy ion equivalence is discussed and the equivalent LET calculation [8] now embedded in our PULSYS-RAD system is presented.


[1] S. P. Buchner, F. Miller, V. Pouget, and D. P. McMorrow, “Pulsed-laser testing for single-event effects investigations,” IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci., vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 1852–1875, 2013.

[2] K. Takeuchi et al., "Single-Event Effects Induced on Atom Switch-based Field-Programmable Gate Array," in IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, vol. 66, no. 7, pp. 1355-1360, July 2019

[3] S. M. Mahmood, “Investigation of Single Event Latch-up effects in the ALICE SAMPA ASIC”, TWEPP 2018, Antwerpen, Belgium

[4] G. Allen et al., « SEE Test Results and Community Efforts”, Nasa NEPP Electronics Technology Workshop, 2019

[5] A. Watkins et al, « Single Event Effects Characterization Using a Single Photon Absorption Laser”, 2018 IEEE AUTOTESTCON, National Harbor, MD, 2018

[6] G. S. Rodrigues et al., "Exploring the inherent fault tolerance of successive approximation algorithms under laser fault injection," IEEE 19th Latin-American Test Symposium (LATS), Sao Paulo, 2018, pp. 1-6

[7] J. Prinzie, J. Christiansen, P. Moreira, M. Steyaert and P. Leroux, "A 2.56-GHz SEU Radiation Hard LC -Tank VCO for High-Speed Communication Links in 65-nm CMOS Technology," in IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 407-412, Jan. 2018

[8] V. Pouget, “Single-photon and two-photon absorption induced charge model calibration”, RADLAS 2017