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Space and "Silicon-on-Insulator" Structure


Study of the Effect of Space Factors on the "Silicon-on-Insulator" Structure and Microelectronic Elements on Its Basis Using the Yerphi Facility Modeling the Space Exposure

Tech Area / Field

  • SAT-OTH/Other/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
A.I. Alikhanyan National Science Laboratory, Armenia, Yerevan

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Microelectronics Technology and High Purity Materials, Russia, Moscow reg., Chernogolovka


  • Kingston University, UK, Kingston\nUniversity of Pardubice / Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Czechia, Pardubice\nFresh-Lands Environmental Actions, UK, Berkshire

Project summary

Project objective. The study of the behavior of the "silicon-on-insulator" structure, its components, and microelectronic elements fabricated on the basis of "silicon-on-insulator" structures under conditions modeling the complex exposure of cosmic factors.

State of the art. It is well known that an object in cosmic space can undergo simultaneous exposure to various factors which can significantly affect its characteristics. In particular, different types of radiation, temperature varied in a wide range, and (in certain orbits in open space) atomic oxygen, can simultaneously affect electronic devices in space. These circumstances certainly complicate prediction of the behavior of microelectronic devices under space conditions, since estimations are usually being made based on tests in which objects under study are subjected to a single space factor. Significantly more information can be obtained using tests based on facility combining exposure to corpuscular radiation (as a factor undoubtedly affecting all cosmic objects) with other factors listed above.

The statement of this project became possible due to the previous ISTC projects, No. А-1229 and No. 2881. A facility was developed and fabricated at Yerevan Physical Institute (YerPhI) within the ISTC project A-1229, which simulates the following space conditions: UV and electron radiations, vacuum, and temperatures from cryogenic to 450°C. The potential of modeling tests for studying the behavior of materials and microelectronic devices was shown.

During round-table discussions performed within the ISTC International Thematic Seminar "Perspective materials, devices and structures for space applications" (Yerevan, May 26-28, 2009), an interest was expressed in collaborative tests of devices developed in IPTM using the YerPhI modeling installation. The present project, in fact, is the expression of these intentions, proceeding from mutual interest and economic efficiency of works based on the results previously obtained at YerPhI and IMT RAS when fulfilling ISTC projects А-1229 and 2881.

Within the ISTC project No. 2881 and other IMT RAS studies, a serious scientific and technical groundwork was created, which is essential for developing highly sensitive microelectronic sensors with improved reliability of operation under severe space conditions. In particular, a new magneto-sensitive element, i.e., a field Hall detector was developed, which features a unique set of electrical characteristics and stability against radiation and temperature exposures. The technological and design groundworks obtained in developing the field Hall detector can be used for developing transistors and integrated circuits with increased radiation and temperature stability. However, the results of the performed experiments do not allow correct prediction of the behavior of SOI microelectronic elements under space conditions, since radiation and temperature factors mostly affected objects under study separately, and the used radiation type (gamma-rays) significantly differs from the spectrum of space radiation exposures.

The effect of the proposed project on progress in this field. The project execution will stimulate progress in the field of space materials technology, solid state radiation physics, and space electronics. Applications of new microelectronic elements will allow to develop new devices of different functionalities with improved parameters and reliability.

Competence of project participants in the field under consideration. At YerPhI, highly skilled specialists with great experience in various fields of science and engineering, such as accelerator engineering, space instrument engineering, semiconductor physics, and radiation solid state physics will be involved in project execution. There are two doctors of sciences and six candidates of sciences in the Armenian team. The results of relevant works are available at the internet site and the review in Noah Bosch, Ultraviolet Sky Surveys, Astro-ph/9807266, Vol.126, July 1998.

At the IMT RAS, a team of highly skilled researchers will be involved in the project work, including one doctor of sciences and four candidates of sciences. The team accumulates long-term experience in the field of radiation physics of semiconductor materials and devices, development of radiation-technological processes, increasing the radiation and temperature reliability of microelectronic devices. The institute possesses a large park of processing equipment and a wide range of techniques for studying characteristics of semiconductor materials and device structures. The competence of project participants is confirmed by numerous publications and reports at international and Russian conferences, available at the internet site

Expected results and applications. The project relates to the category "Applied researches". During its fulfillment, it is anticipated to obtain: the data on changes in electrical characteristics of silicon, insulator-silicon and "silicon-on-insulator" structures under conditions modeling exposure to space factors and their dependence on a combination of doses of electron and UV radiations, corresponding to different orbits of satellite flights and temperature variations, the data on the role of atomic oxygen in changes in properties of silicon, insulator-silicon and "silicon-on-insulator" structures in the case of their use in open space. A technological route will be developed, samples of SOI magnetic field sensors will be worked out, elements of service electronics (amplifier, trigger, and current stabilizer integrated circuits, output cascade transistors) will be fabricated and their characteristics will be studied including those upon exposure to space factors,

taking into account the specificity of their operation in extreme temperature and radiation fields, recommendations of applications of the project results in sensor devices of space electronics and other fields of science and engineering will be composed.

Project consistency to the ISTC objectives. The activity of most participants of the proposed ISTC project was associated with the development of weapon engineering system and accompanying military technologies. The experience accumulated in this field appeared very important for developments in the high-tech field. Therefore, the participation in this project will make a chance to reorient high-class specialists to peace research area.

Active teamwork with collaborators, publication of results in open press and participation (due to the ISTC support) in international conferences will promote integration of participants of the proposed project into an international scientific community.

The ISTC support of the studies within this project will stimulate the development of basic and applied researches, as well as technological developments in the peace purposes. In particular, developments in the field of sensor devices with different functionalities will promote improvement of the reliability of space radio-electronic equipment for telecommunication satellites and ecological monitoring of the Earth's surface.

Fulfillment of this project will stimulate progress in the field of the development of new sensor devices promising for applications not only in space, but also in various fields of science and engineering (equipment of atomic power plants, monitoring systems of "hot" industries, car electronics, safety systems, etc.).

Data on work scope. Within the project the following main works will be performed: the development and fabrication of the setup of the atomic oxygen source and its interfacing with the existing facility to simulate space factors, the development of the design, technological route, and fabrication of samples of SOI elements of service electronics of sensors (amplifier, trigger, and current stabilizer integrated circuits, output cascade transistors) and SOI magnetic field sensors, the study of the effect of various space factors separately and in combination on the properties of silicon, insulator-silicon and "silicon-on-insulator" structures, samples of SOI magneto-sensitive elements and SOI elements of service electronics of sensors.

Role of foreign collaborators. - Teamwork with foreign collaborators will consist in information interchange during the project execution, mutual discussion in joint seminars of scientific and technical reports presented by project participants to the ISTC.

Technical approaches and methodology. It is planned to begin works with the development and fabrication of atomic oxygen Installation (AOS) for its subsequent interfacing with the YerPhI simulating facility, which simulates the effect of various space factors (electrons, UV radiation, vacuum, temperature and further atomic oxygen).

To fabricate microelectronic elements, the "silicon-on-insulator" (SOI) technology being the most advanced technology of modern micro-and nano-electronics will be used. Accordingly, in the material science part of the project, the behavior of SOI structures and its components (silicon and insulator-silicon structure) upon exposures modeling space factors will be studied. Simultaneously with the AOS development and fabrication on the basis of the YerPhI and IMT RAS, it is planned to study (using the existing setup) the effect of space factors (separately and in combination) on the properties of silicon, insulator-silicon structures, and "silicon-on-insulator" structures. Further, using the results obtained, it is planned to develop a design, a technological route to fabricate samples of SOI microelectronic elements and to perform their tests at the IMT and YerPhI under standard conditions and upon exposure to space factors.


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ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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