A Northern Portuguese company operating in the field of space among others is developing, manufacturing and testing radiation monitors. The new technology is usable in high-altitude aircrafts, prone to be exposed to high-energy particles collision. Its main advantage is to obtain data related with exposure to radiation and thus it has the ability to anticipate problems and introduce predictability in manned flights.
Radiation monitors are typically based on a sensors head made of a stack of silicon detectors, connected to charge sensitive amplifiers. Depending on sensors characteristics and the stack build up, one can define the range of energies detected and the resolution of the results obtained. Typically these sensors can be sensitive to energies down to 300 keV. The complete stack of these radiation monitors can measure up to 400MeV. Dose can be determined up to 100krad with 1krad resolution.
The charge sensitive amplifiers are controlled by a CPU that configures detection thresholds and defines a logic that eliminates events with trajectories that are not useful for the particle determination. This radiation monitor creates thus histograms with events of defined energies for a given amount of time. The signature left by the energetic particle in the detectors stack allows further determination of the particle type.
The current radiation monitor can be applied in terrestrial applications at several environments, such as aircrafts and military environment, acting as an alarm system towards high energy (nuclear or not) detection.
In the case of aircrafts, accurate local weather monitoring and health monitoring can be improved by predictability that impacts fleet and crew management. Additionally, the demanding vibration and mechanical shocks roughness can be predicted by radiation traceability, as well as other electronic events on the aircraft control that may be caused by radiation exposure. Ultimately this technology can be used to update and redesign “radiation-proof” aircrafts or cabins.
For the military applications, nuclear leakages or even attacks can be traced with impact on the environment monitoring.
Innovations & Advantages
The radiation monitors are continuously evolving being the third generation almost ready.
The evolution of the technology is mainly in the charge sensitive amplifiers characteristics and controllability. The integration of the charge sensitive amplifiers together with the coincidence logic is a step ahead regarding previous solutions.
Also detectors heads build up is improved to refine the detection capability and avoid noise generation.
New software capabilities improve the usage of such instruments providing flexibility regarding the environment in terms of particles fluxes.
Current and Potential Domains of Application
Current applications: Spacecrafts and missions
Potential applications: Aircrafts and aeronautic industry, Nuclear energy production, Military radiation monitoring, Mining, Healthcare