Hokkaido University Research Profiles

Information and Communication

Soft Error Testing of Telecommunication Equipment Using a Compact Electron Accelerator Neutron Source

Preventing malfunctioning of telecommunication devices caused by cosmic rays

As the semiconductor devices of equipment that support telecommunication networks are becoming more intensively integrated, there is concern that the probability of soft errors caused by cosmic-ray neutrons will increase. To address this problem, we are conducting soft error tests of telecommunication devices using a compact accelerator-driven neutron source at Hokkaido University.

Content of research

As telecommunication devices increase in capacity and become more sophisticated, semiconductor devices are becoming more and more integrated. However, there is concern that cosmic ray neutrons may cause an increase in soft errors, such as bit information upset and operation confusion. Therefore, in collaboration with NTT, we have reproduced soft errors using a compact electron accelerator-driven neutron source to create a place to develop countermeasure technologies in advance. This enables the advance prediction of the failure rate in the natural environment, the detection of errors and verification of operational measures, which will lead to improved reliability of the equipment.
The feature of this technology is the use of a compact accelerator-driven neutron source. In the past, large-scale accelerator-based neutron sources were required, and it was difficult to secure sufficient test time and experimental space. However, through our research, we have demonstrated that it is possible to conduct sufficient tests even in a facility with a neutron intensity of several million times that in nature.

  • Conceptual diagram of the neutron soft error test (provided by NTT), whereby three devices can be irradiated simultaneously with the fast neutron beam.

Potential for social implementation

  • ・Neutron soft error testing of electronic devices

Appealing points to industry and local governments

The Laboratory of Applied Neutron Beam Science and Engineering and the Electron Linear Accelerator Laboratory supports the experiments for industrial users. We have also accumulated know-how through joint research with four companies.