Single event effects (SEEs) in ground level and avionic applications are mainly induced by neutrons and protons, of which the relative contribution of the latter is larger with increasing altitude. Currently, there are two main applicable standards—JEDEC JESD89A for ground level and IEC 62396 for avionics—that address the procedure for testing and qualifying electronics for these environments. In this work, we extracted terrestrial spectra at different altitudes from simulations and compared them with data available from the standards. Second, we computed the SEE rate using different approaches for three static random access memory (SRAM) types, which present a strong SEE response dependence with energy. Due to the presence of tungsten, a fissile material when interacting with high energy hadrons, the neutron and proton SEE cross sections do not saturate after 200 MeV, but still increase up to several GeV. For these memories, we found standard procedures could underestimate the SEE rate by a factor of up to 4-even in ground level applications—and up to 12 times at 12 km. Moreover, for such memories, the contribution from high energy protons is able to play a significant role, comparable to that of neutrons, even at commercial flight altitudes, and greater at higher altitudes.
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