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Again “shut” iPhone? Perhaps blame cosmic rays

Critical failures in the iPhone or Mac does not necessarily are a consequence of the shortcomings of Apple, and can be the result of charged particles born in the atmosphere of Earth space radiation. Pcweek reported, citing a research Professor of electrical engineering Vanderbilt University Bharat Bhuva.

As stated Bhuva, cause many unexpected failures, computer equipment can be charged particles generated by cosmic rays that come from outside our Solar system.

Reaching the Ground, the beams create “cascades of secondary particles including high energy neutrons, muons, pions and alpha particles”, which are so strong and numerous that can initiate failures in the transistors.

Most at risk aircraft and equipment in high latitudes. However, for the space of neutrons does not exist impenetrable barriers. The risk of failure persists for all electronic devices and it is constantly growing as the transistors become smaller and the density of their placement in the chip is increasing.

Bhuva group received funding from the big manufacturers of processors and chip to study the effects of radiation on electronic systems. In their latest paper, we study the effect of cosmic rays on the 16-nm 3D FinFET transistors of the current generation.

“Manufacturers of semiconductor chips are very concerned about this issue as it becomes more serious with decreasing size of transistors in computer chips and increasing the capacity of our digital systems — said Bhuva. — In addition, microelectronic circuits are used everywhere, and our society increasingly depends on them”.

Although it is known that for men, these subatomic particles are not dangerous, they can cause the micro-level irregularities in the gadgets, for example, to initiate the inverting bits when memory-0 is switched to 1. These non-destructive correctable error is called SEU (single-event upset — a failure due to a single event).

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So when you have once again “shut” iPhone, don’t blame Apple. Maybe it’s cosmic particles.

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