As discussed in [Consolandi et al. (2006)] (see also Sections 7.4.1, 11.1–11.1.4 of [Leroy and Rancoita (2016)] and [Leroy and Rancoita (2007)]) defects introduce trapping energy states which degrade the minority carrier lifetime. As well known, the operation of bipolar transistors results from the physical and electrical behavior of majority and minority carriers in the junctions which constitute the transistor. In fact, minority carriers are injected into the base at the emitter-base junction, are transported to the collector and, finally, are retrieved as majority carriers across the base-collector junction. For instance, the effect of radiation on bipolar devices is the reduction of the common emitter current gain, which can be described in terms of the reduction of the minority carrier lifetime in the transistor base.

The relationship between the variation of the inverse of the gain and the fast neutron fluence is provided by means of the Messenger-Spratt equation ([Messenger (1966)Messenger (1972)Messenger (1992)] and references therein):

 ( ) 
Δ 1- = --1- - 1- = -1- Φn- 
    β βirr β ωT K

where β and βirr are the common emitter current gain before and after the irradiation, ωT = 2πfT , fT (the so called- cut-off frequency) is the frequency at which the common emitter current gain is unity (e.g., see Section 3.10 in [Messenger and Ash (1982)], pages 67–69 of [Grebene (1984)] and [Messenger (1973)]), K is the relevant damage constant which depends also on the base resistivity (see for instance [Srour (1973)]) and Φn is the fast neutron fluence in n/cm2:

Φn = ϕ(E ) dE, 

where Emin value is usually taken at about 10 keV. At large particle fluences where the damage is dominated by the atomic displacements, Δ(1∕β) depends linearly on the fluence also for particles other than neutrons (see Refs. [Colder et al. (2001)Colder et al. (2002)Consolandi et al. (2006)] and, for instance, Figure 5.3 at page 215 of Ref. [?] and Figure 42 at page 124 of Ref. [Vavilov and Ukhin (1977)]). As discussed in [Consolandi et al. (2006)Leroy and Rancoita (2007)], Sections 7.4.1, 11.1–11.1.4 of [Leroy and Rancoita (2016)], in absence of saturation effects we can assume that the number of recombination centers produced in silicon is proportional to the energy released into atomic-displacement processes (i.e., on the energy deposited by NIEL processes). Therefore, we have that the concentration of recombination centers is proportional to the concentration of Frenkel-pairs created trough displacement processes and, as a consequence that, Eq. (1) can be generalized as (see [Consolandi et al. (2006)Leroy and Rancoita (2007)], Sections 7.4.1, 11.1–11.1.4 of [Leroy and Rancoita (2016)] and references therein):

 ( 1 ) λ 
Δ -- ≈ ---FP, 
    β ωT

where λ is almost independent of the incoming particle (although it may exhibit a slight dependence on the size of the generated point-defects cascade) but depends on the type and on the doping profile and compensation-level of the base.

Equation (3) is the expression for the common-emitter current gain degradation in bipolar transistors and generalizes the Messenger-Spratt equation, originally derived for fast-neutron environment. It predicts a linear dependence of the inverse of the gain variation on the concentration of Frenkel pairs (FP) generated by incoming particles, i.e., it predicts an approximate NIEL scaling.


[Colder et al. (2001)]    A.Colder, N.Croitoru, P.D’Angelo, M. De Marchi, G. Fallica, S. Leonardi, M. Levalois, S. Marcolomgo, P. Marie, R. Modica, P.G. Rancoita and A. Seidman (2001), Study of Radiation Effects on Bipolar Transistors, Nucl. Instrum. and Methods in Physics B 179, 397.

[Colder et al. (2002)]   A. Colder, N. Croitoru, P. D'Angelo, M.DeMarchi, G. Fallica, A.Favalli, S. Leonardi, M. Levalois, P.Marie, R. Modica, P.G. Rancoita and A. Seidman (2002), Effects of ionizing radiation on BiCMOS components for space application, Proc. of the European Space Component Conference (Toulose 24-27 September 2002), ESA SP-507, 377.

[Consolandi et al. (2006)]   C. Consolandi, P.D’Angelo, G. Fallica, R. Modica, R. Mangoni, S. Pensotti and P.G. Rancoita, Systematic Investigation of Monolithic Bipolar Transistors Irradiated with Neutrons, Heavy Ions and Electrons for Space Applications, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. in Phys. Res. B 252 (2006), 276, doi:10.1016/j.nimb.2006.08.018;

[Grebene (1984)]   A.B. Grebene (1984), Bipolar and Mos Analog Integrated Circuit Design, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

[Leroy and Rancoita (2007)]   C. Leroy and P.G. Rancoita (2007), Particle Interaction and Displacement Damage in Silicon Devices operated in Radiation Environments Reports on Progress in Physics 70, 493-625, doi:10.1088/0034-4885/70/4/R0;

[Leroy and Rancoita (2016)]    C. Leroy and P.G. Rancoita (2016), Principles of Radiation Interaction in Matter and Detection - 4th Edition -, World Scientific. Singapore, ISBN-978-981-4603-18-8 (printed); ISBN.978-981-4603-19-5 (ebook);; it is also partially accessible via google books. To be noted that, by quoting WSRID20 upon checking out the shopping cart, a 20% discount will be obtained. It is also available in kindle edition.

[Messenger (1966)]   G.C. Messenger (1966), IEEE Trans on Nucl. Sci. 13 (no. 6), 141.

[Messenger (1972)]   G.C.Messenger (1972), IEEE Trans on Nucl. Sci. 55, 160.

[Messenger (1973)]   G.C. Messenger, IEEE Trans. on Nucl. Scie. 20 (1973) 809.

[Messenger (1992)]   G.C. Messenger (1992), IEEE Trans. on Nucl. Sci. 39, 468; see also references therein.

[Messenger and Ash (1982)]   G.C. Messenger and M.S. Ash (1992), The Effects of Radiation on Electronic Systems 2nd Edition, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York.

[Srour (1973)]   J.R. Srour (1973), IEEE Trans on Nucl. Sci. 20, 190.

[Vavilov and Ukhin (1977)]   V.S. Vavilov and N.A. Ukhin (1977), Radiation Effects in Semiconductors and Semiconductor Devices (New York: Consultants Bureau, a division of Plenum Publishing Press).