Methods to Enhance Radiation Tolerance of NAND Flash Memory

uah p 21005 06pan

Docket: UAH-P-21005 and 21006


Non-volatile memory (NVM), such as NAND flash technology, is an integral part of electronic systems in aerospace, nuclear, and defense applications. Whereas commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) NAND flash memory chips offer high-density, high-capacity, and light-weight storage, they suffer from radiation-induced data corruption. Specially made radiation-hardened NVMs have very limited capacity and high cost, making them impractical for many emerging data-intensive applications like AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics. Thus, there exists a need to enhance the radiation tolerance of the COTS NAND flash memory to enable data-intensive applications in high-radiation environments.

Researchers at UAH have developed a technology that would improve the radiation tolerance of COTS flash memory for application in high-radiation environments. To accomplish this, they employ two primary techniques: data refresh and partial programming. Data refresh ensures data integrity by selectively reading and correcting data and rewriting the corrected data into a new location. Alternatively, partial programming accomplishes this by applying short programming pulses to restore lost charges in the data. 

Due to the radiation concerns of flash memory, several other radiation-tolerant NVMs have emerged, but the energy density of these technologies is weak. On the other hand, flash memory offers high-capacity, high-speed, and low-power storage solutions, securing its role as the mainstream mass-storage technology well into the future. This technology even furthers that role by allowing these flash memory systems to be leveraged in mission-critical applications at an affordable cost.


  • Nuclear power
  • Aerospace industry
  • Defense


  • Low cost
  • Increased radiation hardness
  • Increased performance and speed in high-radiation environments


  • State of Development: Prototype
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Proprietary

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