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Extreme Environment Electronics


J.D. Cressler and Alan Mantooth, Extreme Environment Electronics, CRC Press, November, 2012, 1041 pages.EEE cover

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“Extreme environment electronics” represents a very important niche industry within the trillion dollar global electronics infrastructure, and entails the design, implementation, and deployment of electronic devices, circuits, sub-systems, and systems capable of operating robustly in environmental surroundings lying outside the traditional domain of conventional commercial or military electronics specifications. Such extreme environments include a diverse collection of “nasty” situations, including, in an approximate order of importance:

• Operation in radiation-rich environments,
• Operation in low temperature environments,
• Operation in high temperature environments,
• Operation in cyclic, wide temperature range environments,
• Operation in vibrationally intense environments,
• Operation in chemically corrosive environments,
• Operation in intense magnetic field environments, and
• Operation under conditions that bring together many extreme environments.

This latter catch-all environment is actually quite common (e.g., consider putting a satellite into Earth orbit and conducting a ten year mission there for remote sensing) and can be considered worst case. Needless to say, there are degrees of “extreme” within each sub-category, some of which are far more challenging than others, and some of which no one-in-their-right-mind would ever attempt (e.g., a mission to the moons of Jupiter come to mind as among the more challenging in the solar system!). In general, extreme environment electronic systems are by definition low-volume, but high-value-add propositions, and hence can be extremely expensive to deploy. It is a truism that extreme environments are “unfriendly” to conventional electronic devices, circuits and systems, and thus from a broad perspective represent a very serious “reliability challenge” to designers and mission architects.

As one can easily imagine, environmental “hardening” of electronics to ensure robust operation in a given extreme environment typically comes with a high price tag, and is a large part of the reason for the high cost associated with, say, operating a satellite system in space or sending a rover to Mars or the Moon. The “holy grail” in the context of extreme environments is an integrated circuit technology platform that is capable as-built for operation in any extreme environment in which the device/circuit/sub-system/system finds itself. Said another way, the desire would be that if we design electronics for standard (terrestrial) operation they should also work well in whatever extreme environment you care to use them in, with no added design or test overhead, enhanced degradation in reliability, or increase in cost. Such an extreme environment electronics technology solution does not exist. And likely never will exist. Simply put, this book your hold in your hands explores at length what is required to operate electronics in extreme environments, what the over-arching reasons for those complexities entail, and how one ultimately achieves success.

It can be fairly stated that Extreme Environment Electronics represents the first truly comprehensive exposition of this field. We address a remarkably wide array of topical coverage, ranging from the extreme environments themselves, to basic physics of the various interactions between devices and environments, to the detailed aspects of electronic design, to modeling of devices through systems, to packaging design, to reliability and quality assurance, to ultimately a wide class of interesting end-use applications intended for real extreme environments. The best practice approaches required to ensure success are constantly emphasized, and many industry examples are given. Not surprisingly, the contributors to this book represent a veritable “who’s who” in the extreme environment electronics field, and given its exceptionally broad coverage, its depth, and the expertise of the contributing authors, this book is expected to become THE seminal go-to reference of the field.

So who exactly should buy this 1,000+ page beast?! Extreme Environment Electronics is intended for a number of different audiences and venues. It should prove to be a useful resource as: 1) a hands-on reference for practicing engineers and scientists working on various aspects of extreme environment electronics; 2) a hands-on research resource for graduate students in electrical and computer engineering, physics, or materials science; 3) a textbook for use in graduate-level instruction in this field; or 4) a reference for technical managers and even technical support / technical sales personnel in the industry. It is assumed that the reader has some modest background in basic electronics (say, at the advanced undergraduate level), but each chapter is self-contained in its treatment, and there are numerous appendices with more basic background.


1 The Big Picture and Some History of the Field
2 Extreme Environments in NASA Planetary Exploration
3 Extreme Environment Electronics in NASA’s Heliophysics Vision
4 Overview of the NASA ETDP RHESE Program
5 Extreme Environment Electronics in NASA’s Aeronautics Research
6 Technology Options for Extreme Environment Electronics

7 The Physics of Temperature and Temperature’s Role in Carrier Transport
8 Overview of Radiation Transport Physics and Component Effects
9 The Interaction of Radiation with Semiconductor Devices

Environments and Prediction Tools
10 Orbital Radiation Environments
11 CREME96 and Related Error Rate Prediction Methods
12 Monte Carlo Simulation of Radiation Effects
13 Extreme Environments in Energy Production and Utilization
14 Extreme Environments in Transportation

Semiconductor Device Technologies for Extreme Environments
15 Si CMOS Platforms: Radiation
16 Si CMOS Platforms: Wide Temperature
17 Tradeoffs Between Performance and Reliability in Sub-100nm RF CMOS on SOI
18 SiGe HBT Platforms: Wide Temperature and Radiation
19 Using Temperature to Explore the Scaling Limits of SiGe HBTs
20 SiC Integrated Circuit Platforms for High-Temperature Applications
21 Passive Elements in Silicon Technology
22 Power Device Platforms
23 CMOS-Compatible SOI MESFETs for Extreme Environments
24 III-Nitride Platforms
25 Photonic Devices
26 Radiation Hardening by Process
27 Industry Examples of Rad-hard Silicon Technologies: BAE Systems
28 Industry Examples of Rad-hard Silicon Technologies: Honeywell
29 Industry Examples of High-Temperature SOI Technologies: Honeywell

Modeling for Extreme Environment Electronic Design
30 TCAD of Advanced Transistors: SiGe HBTs
31 Mixed-Mode TCAD Tools
32 Mixed-Mode TCAD for Modeling of Single-Event Effects
33 Compact Modeling of SiGe HBTs
34 Compact Modeling of CMOS Devices for Extreme Environments
35 Compact Modeling of LDMOS
36 Compact Modeling of Power Devices
37 Best Practices for Modeling Radiation Effects in Mixed-Signal Circuits
38 Compact Model Toolkits

Device and Circuit Reliability in Extreme Environments
39 Failure Mechanisms in Modern Integrated Circuits and Industry Best Practices for Reliability Degradation Predictions
40 Considerations for the Reliability Estimation of SiGe HBTs
41 Considerations for the Reliability Estimation of Silicon CMOS
42 Qualification Methodology for Extreme Environment Electronics

Circuit Design for Extreme Environments
43 Best Practices in Radiation Hardening by Design: CMOS
44 Investigations of RHBD Techniques for SiGe Devices and Circuits
45 Best Practices in Wide-Temperature Range Circuit Design
46 Achieving Invariability in Analog Circuits Operating in Extreme Environments

Examples of Extreme Environment Circuit Designs
47 Voltage and Current References
48 Operational Amplifiers
49 Cryogenic Low Noise Amplifiers
50 Active Filters
51 Analog-to-Digital Converters
52 Digital-to-Analog Converters
53 CMOS Phase Locked Loops
54 Low-Voltage, Weakly Saturated SiGe HBT Circuits
55 Memory Circuits
56 Field Programmable Gate Arrays
57 Microprocessors and Microcontrollers
58 Asynchronous Digital Circuits
59 Characterizing SETs in Oscillator Circuits
60 Low-Voltage Power Electronics
61 Medium-Voltage Power Electronics
62 SiC JFET Integrated Circuits for Extreme Environment Electronics
63 Using CMOS-Compatible SOI MESFETs for Power Supply Management

Verification of Analog and Mixed-Signal Systems
64 Model Based Verification
65 Event Driven Mixed-signal Modeling Techniques for System-in-Package Functional Verification

Packaging for Extreme Environments
66 Electronic Packaging Approaches for Low-Temperature Environments
67 Electronic Packaging Approaches for High-Temperature Environments
68 Failure Analysis of Packaging
69 Silicon Carbide Power Electronics Packaging

Real-World Extreme Environment Applications
70 A New Approach to Electronic System Design for Extreme Environments: Part 1 – the SiGe Remote Sensor Interface
71 A New Approach to Electronic System Design for Extreme Environments: Part 2 – the SiGe Remote Electronics Unit
72 Distributed Motor Controller for Operation in Extreme Environments
73 A Radiation Hard Multi-Channel Digitizer ASIC for Operation in the Jovian Environment
74 Approaches to Commercial Communications Satellite Design
75 UHF Micro-transceiver Development Project
76 Down-Hole Instrumentation Package for Energy Well Drilling
77 Electronics Requirements for Collider Physics Experiments
78 Cryogenic Electronics for High Energy Physics Experiments
79 Radar Systems for Extreme Environments

A Properties of Silicon and Germanium
B Temperature Scales
C Planetary Temperature Ranges and Radiation Levels
D Radiation Test Facilities
E Radiation Testing Protocols and Mil-Spec Standards
F Primer on the Semiconductor Transport Equations and Their Solution
G Primer on MOSFETs
H Primer on Si and SiGe Bipolar Transistors
I Compendium of NASA’s COTS Radiation Test Data
J Compendium of NASA’s COTS Cryogenic Test Data