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Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society

Distinguished Lectures

Dr. Ron Schrimpf

Orrin Henry Ingram Professor of Engineering Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Engineering Department Vanderbilt University


Radiation Effects and Soft Errors in Advanced Technologies

Scaling of semiconductor technologies has created concern that future generations of integrated circuits will exhibit unacceptable levels of reliability due to radiation-induced soft errors. Each error is a transient effect produced by the interaction of a single ionizing particle with a sensitive device. These particles may be produced by the reactions of cosmic rays in the atmosphere or they may originate from trace amounts of radioactive materials in packages or the surrounding environment. While these issues are particularly serious for space systems, they are becoming an increasing concern for terrestrial applications that demand high reliability. In addition to soft errors, electronics also may suffer parametric degradation or catastrophic failure caused by exposure to radiation. This talk will include an overview of critical radiation-related issues that affect advanced semiconductor technologies. A new simulation-based methodology for analyzing radiation effects, based on simulating large numbers of individual events will be described.


photo of Ron Schrimpf, Ph.D.


• 1986 ‑ Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering), University of Minnesota
• 1984 ‑ Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, University of Minnesota
• 1981 ‑ Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with Distinction, University of Minnesota

Professional History

• 1986-1996 ‑ Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Arizona
• 1996-present ‑ Professor of Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University
• 2003-present – Director, Institute for Space and Defense Electronics, Vanderbilt University
• 2008-present ‑ Orrin Henry Ingram Professor of Engineering, Vanderbilt University

Research Interests

Ron Schrimpf’s research activities focus on the effects of radiation on semiconductor devices and integrated circuits. The Radiation Effects Research Group at Vanderbilt is the largest of its type at any US University. Current projects include atomic-scale modeling of radiation-induced defects, application and development of simulation tools for radiation effects, total-dose and single-event effects in advanced technologies, and development of radiation-effects and hardness-assurance test methodologies. Ron is the Principal Investigator of programs funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the U.S. Navy, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Ron is the Director of Vanderbilt’s Institute for Space and Defense Electronics (ISDE), which applies the radiation-effects research conducted at Vanderbilt to the practical problems of companies and governmental organizations. There are nine faculty members associated with ISDE, thirteen full-time engineers, and approximately thirty graduate students. Ron has authored or co-authored more than 380 journal papers and edited the book Radiation Effects and Soft Errors in Integrated Circuits and Electronic Devices (with Dan Fleetwood).

Selected Honors and Awards

Chancellor’s Cup, Vanderbilt, 2010; Harvey Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award, Vanderbilt, 2008-09; Outstanding Teaching Award, Vanderbilt School of Engineering, 2008; Chancellor’s Award for Research, Vanderbilt, 2003; IEEE Fellow (elected 2000); 1996 IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society Early Achievement Award; Outstanding Paper Awards, 1991, 1996, 1998, and 2007 IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conferences (NSREC); Meritorious Paper Awards, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2002 IEEE NSREC; Outstanding Oral Presentation, 1995 IEEE NSREC; Outstanding Poster Presentation, 1995 IEEE NSREC; Outstanding Paper Award, Power Semiconductors, 1989 IEEE Industrial Applications Conference; Outstanding Paper Award, RADECS, 2007 and 2009.

Selected Professional Activities

IEEE Radiation Effects Steering Group (RESG), Past Chairman (2006-2009), Chairman (2003-2006), and Vice Chairman (2000-2003); RADECS Steering Group (2006-present); IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference (NSREC), General Chairman (1999) and Technical Program Chairman (1996); Guest Editor, NSREC Special Issue of IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science (1993-95).

Contact Lecturer

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