A Soft-Error Hardened by Design Microprocessor Implemented on Bulk 12-nm FinFET CMOS

Lawrence T Clark, Alen Duvnjak, Matthew Cannon, John Brunhaver, Sapan Agarwal, Jack E. Manuel, Donald Wilson, Hugh Barnaby, Matthew Marinella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe the porting of a soft-error hardened microprocessor to a modern 12-nm bulk CMOS finFET fabrication process and radiation testing results. The microprocessor includes latch based cache and main register file (RF) arrays, with compact dual patterned layouts. It is protected by dual modular redundancy (DMR) in the speculative pipeline, RF, and caches. Self-correcting triple modular redundant (TMR) flip-flops provide fine grain protection in the TMR circuits that hold key architectural state. The DMR circuits are protected by checking circuits at the caches, RF and crossovers to TMR state. In the event of a DMR mismatch, a soft-error exception is taken, and the machine state is repaired via software. This approach also allows detailed machine state reporting to elucidate the soft-error root cause circuits and cross sections. Broad beam radiation testing shows that it responds correctly to detected soft-errors. The by-circuit cross sections of the various circuits are reported for both heavy ions and protons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • finFET
  • FinFETs
  • Microprocessors
  • modular redundancy
  • Pipelines
  • Radiation hardening (electronics)
  • Radiation hardening by design
  • Radio frequency
  • Registers
  • soft errors
  • Software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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