Control, Alt, Delete? The Impact of Space Weather in the Air and on the Ground

Friday, February 17, 2017: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 312 (Hynes Convention Center)
Bharat Bhuva, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
With electronic systems pervading every aspect of human life, any disruption in their operation have serious economic and social consequences. On Earth, electronics are constantly bombarded by energetic particles present in the atmosphere. These particles may interact with semiconductor materials to corrupt memory, or even cause components to burn out, resulting in system malfunction. These interactions between a particle and the semiconductor material are known as single-event effects. A roadmap for future technologies developed by the Semiconductor Industry Association lists failures due to single-event effects as the biggest reliability issue facing their engineers. They can have a devastating impact on technologies around the world, such as aircraft operation, online banking, driverless cars, and the internet. Fabrication technologies have scaled down the size of transistors to the point where there are billions on a single integrated circuit. This has improved the functionality of each electronic system, but it has also increased their vulnerability. Appropriate design techniques to mitigate these effects and test facilities to evaluate electronic system vulnerability are constantly being developed and upgraded. This talk will focus on basics of single-event effects and their potentially devastating impact on the technologies we rely on.