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Andy C. Mackie PhD, Olivier Lauzeral (iROC)
The names of high-energy subatomic particles such as alpha, beta, gamma, x-rays and cosmic rays will be well known to every high-school student. Table 1 shows some of the most common types of particles and a description of them.
In aerospace electronics, any of these particles may be encountered and each presents a unique challenge for applications, such as satellite telecommunications. Even at sea level, much of the semiconductor packaging experts are aware of the increasing need for controlled alpha-emissions in materials that are immediately adjacent to the chip surface. This need is driven by the shrink in size of the active device (characterized by the “equivalent DRAM gate length”1) present in the active device layers of a semiconductor chip.
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