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NRL demonstrates high durability of nanotube transistors to the harsh space environment
Date:9/18/2012

WASHINGTON--U.S. Naval Research Laboratory electronics science and technology engineers demonstrate the ability of single walled carbon nanotube transistors (SWCNTs) to survive the harsh space environment, investigating the effects of ionizing radiation on the crystalline structures and further supporting the development of SWCNT-based nanoelectronics for use in harsh radiation environments.

"One of the primary challenges for space electronics is mitigating the susceptibility of prolonged exposure to radiation that exists in the charged particle belts that encircle Earth," said Cory Cress, materials research engineer. "These are the first controlled demonstrations showing little performance degradation and high tolerance to cumulative ionizing radiation exposure."

Radiation effects take two forms, transient effects and cumulative effects. The former, referred to as single effect transients (SETs), result from a direct strike by an ionizing particle in space that causes a current pulse in the device. If this pulse propagates through the circuit it can cause data corruption that can be extremely detrimental to someone that relies on that signal, such as a person using GPS for navigation. NRL researchers have recently predicted that such effects are nearly eliminated for SWCNT-based nanoelectronics due to their small size, low density, and inherent isolation from neighboring SWCNTs in a device.

The cumulative effects in traditional electronics results from trapped charges in the oxides of the devices, including the gate oxide and those used to isolate adjacent devices, the latter being primary source of radiation-induced performance degradation in state-of-the-art complementary metaloxide semiconductor (CMOS) devices. The effect is manifested as a shift in the voltage needed to turn the transistor on or off. This initially results in power leakage, but can eventually cause failure of the entire circuit.

By developing a SWCNT st
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Contact: Daniel Parry
nrl1030@ccs.nrl.navy.mil
202-767-2541
Naval Research Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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