An LTspice simulation model of gamma-radiation effects and isothermal annealing in a voltage regulator with a lateral serial PNP transistor with round emitters

Vladimir Dj. Vukić


The aim of this paper was to determine the reasons for a complex radiation response of the commercial-off-the-shelf LM2940CT5 low-dropout voltage regulator. Examination of this circuit in a gamma-radiation environment disqualified its use when operated with relatively high output currents, while its radiation tolerance was satisfactory when load current was approximately one-tenth (or lower) of the nominal value. In order to obtain a more thorough insight into the radiation response of this integrated circuit, a detailed SPICE model was developed. This model enabled mutual comparison of the influence of serial and driver PNP power transistor parameters: forward emitter current gain, knee current and emitter resistance. The serial lateral PNP power transistor with round emitters was identified as the weakest element that crucially affected the entire circuit radiation tolerance. The effects of gamma-radiation were examined for total doses up to 500 Gy followed by three sequences of isothermal annealing. Detailed characteristics of Beta(Ic) were procured for four different kinds of bias and load conditions during irradiation. The emitter resistance increase of the serial power transistor was a primary reason for the low radiation tolerance of the entire voltage regulator; it was much more influential than the perceived decline of the PNP power transistor forward emitter current gain. The influence of bias and load conditions were analysed with buildup of interface traps and the oxide-trapped charge, which affected the radiation and post-irradiation response of the serial power transistor.


lateral PNP transistor; radiation effects; isothermal annealing; SPICE model; voltage regulator.

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