Cosmic Radiation Reliability Analysis for Aircraft Power Electronics

Mikhail Dobynde, Jayakrishnan Harikumaran, Jingnan Guo, Patrick Wheeler, Michael Galea, Giampaolo Buticchi

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Cosmic Ray induced failures are a major concern for the electronic system reliability of airborne and space systems. Power system voltages on aerospace platforms are on a steady upward trend. High voltage power converters suffer from Single Event Burnout failures caused by cosmic rays. The established standards propose a scaling factor based on measured background galactic cosmic rays intensity at operating altitude to apply de-rating factors. The radiation environment in the atmosphere can be increased due to the cascading of primary solar energetic particles during solar eruptions. In this work, the altitude profile of the radiation environment is simulated using a GEANT4 Monte-Carlo code. The failure rates due to both background Galactic Cosmic Rays and Solar Energetic Particles are quantitatively evaluated. Further to the known influence of geomagnetic shielding of cosmic rays, the geographical distribution of cosmic rays at flight altitudes of 10 km are also presented. The estimated cosmic ray intensity can then be combined with experimentally measured failure rate data to predict the impact on the reliability of power converters, giving a new level of accuracy in the modeling of such failure mode in more electric aircraft applications. It is shown for the first time in the scientific literature by using experimental data and state-of-the-art models, that the solar energetic particles storms fluxes vastly exceed the recommended standard and constitute a risk for the power electronics reliability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Aerospace electronics
  • Aircraft
  • Atmospheric measurements
  • Atmospheric modeling
  • Cosmic rays
  • Cosmic rays
  • Earth
  • More electric aircraft
  • Power electronics
  • Protons
  • Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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