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Title: Fault-tolerance of field-programmable gate arrays subjected to radiation
Author: Brown, Simon James
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 7020
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis describes a technology and methodology designed and developed for the study of certain aspects of reliability in digital electronics sub-systems, as implemented on field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), while being subjected to small-scale sources of radiation. The technology developed is in the form of a platform for the FPGA under investigation, and an associated configuration and test system. The platforms for the devices are exchangeable, so that a range of different generations, manufacturers and models of FPGA, or other processing element, can be investigated. The circuit boards have been designed to fit inside a small volume, in order to be accommodated by a typical laboratory desk-top source of radiation such as neutrons, alpha or beta particles. To maximise it's usefulness, the test system was designed to be used for a wide range of investigations and prototyping projects. In order to prove the applicability of the system developed, an experiment was run. A triple-module redundant (TMR) system is constructed to test the raw susceptibility of the underlying FPGAs to faults, and to test how well the TMR system copes with correcting such errors. This is done while the whole system is subjected to ionizing radiation in the form of neutrons. This reveals the effects of radiation on the ICs, and provides an accelerated test for tolerance to other potential causes of faults. We are looking for - - confirmation of theory and other's measurements on upset rate - confirmation that fault-tolerance works We conclude that: (1) the experimental test system passed the required tests and measurements, and produces results, (2) the SEU rate, as measured in the example experiment, is consistent with expectations, and (3) a conventional commercial FPGA, programmed to perform a function reliably using triple-module redundancy, will indeed continue to perform correctly under the influence of SEU-inducing radiation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available