The Effect of Elevation on Single Event Upsets in Digital Imagers

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Cosmic radiation causes transient errors in microelectronic devices, known as Single Event Upsets (SEUs). These errors are most common in space-borne electronics, however terrestrial electronics experience the same errors, to a lesser degree. SEUs can be difficult to characterize in most integrated circuits, however, in digital imagers they cause defects which appear as unexpected bright pixels that are temporarily present in a series of images. To detect them, a sequence of long exposure, dark-frame images is recorded and then during analysis pixels which appear bright in one photograph but dark in the images immediately before and after are flagged. Just as the effect of SEUs is more prevalent in space, a rise in elevation on Earth can increase the frequency of SEUs by a noticeable amount. In this thesis, I will perform a series of experiments to understand the relationship between SEUs and elevation. Using DSLR cameras, images will be recorded at elevations ranging from sea level to approximately 1200 metres above sea level. The quantity and charge distribution of the SEUs will be extracted from the photographs and compared to the elevation.
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