This dissertation studies the effects of radiation-induced single-event upsets (SEUs) on field-programmable gate array(FPGA)-based circuits. It analyzes and quantifies a special case in data communication, that is, the synchronization issue of signals when they are sent across clock domains in triple modular redundancy (TMR) circuits with the presence of SEUs. After demonstrating that synchronizing errors cannot be eliminated in such case, this dissertation continues to present novel synchronizer designs that can guarantee reliable synchronization of triplicated signals. Fault injection tests then show that the proposed synchronizers provide between 6 and 10 orders of magnitude longer mean time to failure (MTTF) than unmitigated synchronizers. This dissertation also studies the reliability of block random access memory (BRAM) on FPGAs. By investigating several previous reliability models for single-error correction/double-error detection (SEC/DED) memory with scrubbing, this dissertation proposes two novel MTTF models that are suitable for FPGA applications. The first one considers non-uniform write rates for probabilistic write scrubbing, and the second one combines deterministic scrubbing and probabilistic scrubbing into a single model. The proposed models reveal the impact of memory access patterns on the reliability of BRAMs. Monte Carlo simulations then demonstrate the correctness of the proposed models. At last, the memory access patterns of a type of FPGA application, digital signal processing (DSP) is studied, and mitigation mechanisms for DSP applications are discussed.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





FPGA, reliability, single event upset, synchronizer, triple modular redundancy, block RAM, scrubbing, Markov model, mean time to failure