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Title:Investigation of system-level ESD induced soft failures
Author(s):Thomson, Nicholas Adam
Director of Research:Rosenbaum, Elyse
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rosenbaum, Elyse
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Chen, Deming; Gong, Songbin; Schutt-Ainé, José
Department / Program:Electrical & Computer Eng
Discipline:Electrical & Computer Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Electrostatic discharge (ESD)
Soft failures
Abstract:Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is a common phenomenon that can have negative implications for the performance of systems during operation. ESD is a brief, high-current stress that when applied to a functional system, can cause a variety of problems ranging from temporary system malfunction to permanent failure of components within the system and/or the system itself. Permanent failure of components, also known as hard failure, is a well-studied area among the ESD community with established practices in place for mitigating the stress and improving the reliability of the system. While further improvements with regard to hard-failure protection can always be made, this work will focus on the aspects of soft failures. Soft failures encompass any type of disruption to the system that, in general, can be recovered from, for example by powercycling the system. An example of a soft failure could be the erasure of data within some memory elements of an embedded computer that cause programmed routines to fail. By restarting the system, the data will be regenerated and written into the memory elements and proper functionality is returned. While seemingly innocuous, the temporary failure of crucial systems, for example medical or automotive systems, could lead to severe consequences. This dissertation surveys the type of sensitive logic that could be susceptible to soft failures. Custom hardware which utilizes these elements has been designed and fabricated. Experiments with this hardware has yielded evidence of soft failures and lead to a preliminary understanding of the mechanisms responsible for those soft failures. While strong support for these hypothesized mechanisms has been obtained, future work must be completed to ascertain the validity of the conclusions drawn from the preliminary results.
Issue Date:2017-04-19
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Nicholas Thomson
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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