Alpha Particle Detection Using CCD Devices
Original Publication Date: 1979-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-20
Radioactive contaminants in chip and package materials can cause soft errors in dynamic memories. As the packing densities of memory arrays increase, their memory cell geometries and corresponding critical charge levels decrease. The critical charge levels determine the amount of charge needed to change the state of a dynamic memory, on or off. Soft errors occur when alpha particles, passing through or near the depletion region of a dynamic memory cell, ionize enough electrons free to change its state. Since there is no physical damage to the memory cell, this is called a soft error or soft failure.