Cosmic Ray Failures in Power Electronics

The useful life of a power electronic component is generally considered to be delimited by early-life failures and end-of-life failures. However, random failures must not be neglected when considering the reliability of a power electronic system. Single event burnouts (SEB) due to cosmic rays are a typical contribution to the random failure rate. While the single event is random, the probability of occurrence, that is, the failure rate of an inverter can be predicted from the  application conditions of the inverter.

This application note presents the basic approach of how to estimate the cosmic ray failure rate of an application, whether under design or already existing.

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