Methods to Improve Radiation Tolerance of Flash Systems

uah p 20042pan

Docket: UAH-P-20042


Utilization of radiation-tolerant integrated circuits (ICs) is vital for nuclear, aerospace, and defense industries, but specialized, radiation-hard ICs lag behind commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) ICs in their speed and functionality. Thus, successfully mitigating radiation error in COTS parts would allow for more advanced computing for applications in high-radiation environments. The most common methods currently used are error correction codes (ECC) and data redundancy, but ECCs fail under high-dose radiation environments, and data redundancy comes with reduced memory performance.

Researchers at UAH have developed a technology for using Read-Retry (RR) data-recovery command sets in radiation environments. RR commands are currently used to correct for intrinsic bit errors in high-density flash technology, but our researchers have developed a method to apply the same principles to correct for radiation error. The proposed technology efficiently implements the RR approach in the NAND memory controller, and experimentation shows that it can correct ~99% of fails at a total ionization dose of 20 krads. This will significantly enhance the radiation tolerance of 3D NAND flash memory systems.

Flash memory promises to remain the mainstream mass-storage technology for the foreseeable future. The ability to leverage this state-of-the-art component in mission-critical applications at an affordable cost is groundbreaking. This technology will play a critical role in electronic systems where radiation hardening is crucial.



  • Nuclear power industry
  • Aerospace industry
  • Defense industry
  • Military



  • Easy to implement
  • Affordable cost
  • No required hardware modification
  • Can be used in addition to current error correction techniques


  • State of Development: Prototype
  • Licensing Status: Available for Licensing
  • Patent Status: Patent Pending

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