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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Institute for Space and Defense Electronics

The mission of the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics is to contribute to the design and analysis of radiation-hardened electronics, the development of test methods and plans for assuring radiation hardness and the development of solutions to system-specific problems related to radiation effects.

Institute for Space and Defense Electronics (ISDE)

Ronald Schrimpf Ronald Schrimpf

Orrin H. Ingram Chair in Engineering
Professor of Electrical Engineering
Director of the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics

Space and defense systems require the highest levels of performance, but at the same time, levels of reliability exceeding those of commercial systems are required. These two requirements are often in conflict, as the most modern and highest performance devices don't have extensive operational histories upon which reliability models can be built. The reliability challenges include longterm degradation, as well as loss of data (soft errors). To address these concerns, Ronald Schrimpf is leading a team of ISDE researchers to develop more predictive reliability models based on physical understanding of the  failure mechanisms, funded by the United States Air Force, United States Navy and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. This challenge requires a fundamentally new and revolutionary approach to designing-in and assuring reliability.

The research team aims to use a practical and unified approach, developing understanding of basic mechanisms at a fundamental level and efficiently propagating that information into practical capabilities. Understanding the physical phenomena responsible for degradation and soft errors is a key reliability challenge associated with deploying future generations of electronics in space and defense systems.

Lloyd Massengill Lloyd Massengill

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering
Director of Engineering for the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics

Lloyd Massengill's area of expertise is the study of single-event (SE) radiation that produces soft errors (data glitches or bitflips) in microelectronics. Soft errors are due to isolated strikes by ionizing particles such as high-energy particles discharged by the sun, objects in deep space or natural radioactive decay of common materials. Although the impact of single events on a computer chip is localized and transient, as circuits become smaller, the deleterious effect on computer operation can increase dramatically. Of additional concern is total-dose radiation, which is caused by bombardment over time of subatomic particles released from a variety of sources, including ambient or background radiation on Earth. The accumulated effect of this type of radiation impairs performance over time and can ultimately
destroy integrated circuit functionality.

Lloyd MassengillTo address these challenges, Massengill is currently leading a team of researchers to investigate radiation mechanisms, high-speed circuit response, compact model development and design hardening for deep sub-100 nm (32 nm/22 nm/14 nm) complementary metal-oxide semiconductor technologies exposed to SE radiation. Using three-dimensional technology computer-aided design, mixed-mode simulation and IC fabrication/testing to elucidate mechanisms and circuit responses, Massengill is developing SE hardening guidelines and radiation-hardened-by-design techniques under the DoD's Defense Threat Reduction Agency funding.

Dan Fleetwood Dan Fleetwood

Olin H. Landreth Chair in Engineering
Professor of Electrical Engineering
Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Dan Fleetwood is a leader in understanding the effects of defects on the radiation response and long-term reliability of semiconductor materials and devices. He specializes in the effects of radiation and/or
bias/temperature stress on Si and compound semiconductorbased devices and integrated circuits. He is an internationally recognized authority in the area of low-frequency noise and has led research efforts that have resulted in the identification of key manufacturing defects responsible for limiting the performance, reliability and radiation response of electronic devices in terrestrial and space environments.

Along with collaborators in the radiation effects community, Fleetwood performed basic research that unified models of the complex time and dose rate dependencies of metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) defect growth and annealing, which provided the technical basis for the present standards for total dose radiation testing. He developed irradiation and high-temperature anneal sequences that ensure MOS devices that pass short-term radiation tests on the ground will not fail at long times in space. These methods were the first standards to specifically address the difficult issue of predicting MOS total dose response in space and now govern acceptance of electronics for all military and space radiation environments.

Ken Galloway Ken Galloway

Distinguished Professor of Engineering
Professor of Electrical Engineering

Ken Galloway has been actively engaged in research related to radiation effects in microelectronics for 40 years. He has worked on the development of new technologies, characterization tools, test methods and basic mechanisms. He has, at various times, contributed to work on both single-event effects and total ionizing dose effects. He has published numerous technical papers in these areas and has conducted research sponsored by several United States Department of Defense organizations including the United States Navy, United States Air Force, Defense Threat Reduction Agency and DARPA .

Galloway played a key role in establishing ISDE and the Radiation Effects and Reliability Group, which studies the underlying phenomena behind the effects of radiation on electronic devices and integrated circuits and proposes new solutions to increase the reliability of systems in space and other systems exposed to ionizing radiation. During his tenure as executive vice-chair and chairman of the NPSS Radiation Effects Committee, a comprehensive set of guideline documents describing every aspect of organizing the Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference was created and the Radiation Effects Data Workshop began. Galloway's role resulted in the strong and cordial relationship that exists today between NPSS and the premier European radiation effects conference, RADECS.

Robert Reed Robert Reed

Professor of Electrical Engineering

Robert Reed and ISDE researchers are launching a miniature satellite into space in a quest to help future space missions better combat the harsh conditions of space, particularly radiation that can cause glitches or breakdowns in electronic components. Funded by NASA and the DoD, this multi-mission, radiation effects test bed payload will be among the first of its kind in the United States.

Using a CubeSat (a small square satellite only 10 cm or four inches), the launches provide an unprecedented  opportunity to test the billions of calculations ISDE researchers have conducted on the ground using computers. More than that, these projects expose a new generation to the potentially exciting discoveries where electrical engineering and computer science intersect with space exploration.

Under funding by the DoD's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Reed is also addressing the mechanisms of charge carrier generation and motion that affect non-silicon channel transistors during an ionizing radiation-induced event. Reed is applying multiscale simulations and targeted experiments on test structures to understand the production and motion of ionizing radiation-induced charge carriers that are critical for future generations of nanoscale electronics.

Bharat Bhuva Bharat Bhuva

Professor of Electrical Engineering

Soft errors pose a major reliability threat to advanced semiconductor technologies. The decrease in minimum feature sizes, accompanied by the decrease in transistor currents and nodal capacitances, has resulted in this increased vulnerability. As a result, it is imperative to develop a full characterization of soft errors at advanced technology nodes to guide designers and fabrication engineers in meeting reliability requirements of electronic systems.

With a coalition of semiconductor companies, Bharat Bhuva is leading a team of ISDE researchers in evaluating advanced technology platforms for soft errors to develop design strategies that mitigate soft error threats. Results from this project will allow better understanding of singleevent effects and will facilitate development of mitigation strategies.

Robert Weller Robert Weller

Professor of Electrical Engineering

Nothing in the modern world is more critical for countering threats to the United States than maintaining robust and secure electronic and information systems that can continue to perform even when subjected to harsh environments. Whether these systems are aboard spacecraft or in fixed terrestrial infrastructure, they must be engineered to withstand their respective environments and to continue to function as expected.

Robert Weller and ISDE colleagues are developing first-principles methods for computing radiation effects in sub-100 nm semiconductor devices with arbitrary composition and design. In the last few years, the scaling of devices to quantum sizes, the introduction of radically new materials and an increasing dependence on commercial technologies for defense applications have made it necessary to develop new methods for predicting the reliability of devices in radiation environments. By advancing the science and computational techniques for first-principles analysis of radiation effects in microelectronics, the team aims to reduce the development cost and increase the reliability of microelectronics used in radiation environments, as well as to support the development of advanced radiation detectors.

Institute for Space and Defense Electronics (ISDE)

ISDE Research and Affiliated Faculty

Michael Alles
Research Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering

Tim Holman
Research Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering

Daniel Loveless
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering

Marcus Mendenhall
Research Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering

Sokrates Pantelides
University Distinguished Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering

William Robinson
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering

Arthur Witulski
Research Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering

Enxia Zhang
Research Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering