Pritpal S. Kanhaiya, Andrew Yu, Richard Netzer, William Kemp, Derek Doyle, Max M. Shulaker
Electronics for space applications have stringent requirements on both performance and radiation tolerance. The constant exposure to cosmic radiation damages and eventually destroys electronics, limiting the lifespan of all space-bound missions. Thus, as space missions grow increasingly ambitious in distance away from Earth, and therefore time in space, the electronics driving them must likewise grow increasingly radiation-tolerant. In this work, we show how carbon nanotube (CNT) field-effect transistors (CNFETs), a leading candidate for energy-efficient electronics, can be strategically engineered to simultaneously realize a robust radiation-tolerant technology. We demonstrate radiation-tolerant CNFETs by leveraging both extrinsic CNFET benefits owing to CNFET device geometries enabled by their low-temperature fabrication, as well as intrinsic CNFET benefits owing to CNTs’ inherent material properties. By performing a comprehensive study and optimization of CNFET device geometries, we demonstrate record CNFET total ionizing dose (TID) tolerance (above 10 Mrad(Si)) and show transient upset testing on complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) CNFET-based 6T SRAM memories via X‑ray prompt dose testing (threshold dose rate = 1.3 × 1010 rad(Si)/s). Taken together, this work demonstrates CNFETs’ potential as a technology for next-generation space applications.