Saturday, February 19, 2011

Anyone else remember self-healing GaAs transistors?

On episode 130 of SolderSmoke, N2CQR wondered why the transistors on the Venus Magellan probe were mentioned as self-healing. I remember a reference being made to self-healing GaAs transistors for use in radiation environments when I worked at a paticle accellerator during my MSEE studies, but I can't find a solid reference to this usage now. The explanation I remember went something like this:

"Radiation can damage transistors by breaking the crystalline lattice inside the semiconductor. Self-healing transistors run very hot so that when a lattice site in the semiconductor crystal is broken by radiation it is 'fixed' by the crystal effectively melting around the broken site."

Does anyone else have a solid reference to this or more information?


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