Radiation Hardness Studies for High-Energy Physics and Space Missions

The Bern cyclotron is also used as an irradiation facility for radiation hardness studies. Recently we have irradiated components for the upgrade of the ATLAS pixel detector at CERN, and validated the performance after irradiation of parts used in the JUICE space mission to Jupiter (work carried out in collaboration with the Space and Planetology (WP) division  of the Physics Institute of the University of Bern). We have proved that we can simulate 12 years of irradiation of Jupiter in 30 minutes! Collaborations for radiation hardness studies extend beyond the University of Bern (CERN, University of Geneva). Next to the irradiation bunker, the facility offers a physics lab where experimental setups can be installed to evaluate the effects of radiation.

If interested in the possibility to irradiate components at the Bern cyclotron, please contact Prof. Saverio Braccini at saverio.braccini@lhep.unibe.ch.

The irradiation facility

A specific setup for radiation hardness studies can be installed in the BTL. The irradiation of the device under test is performed by continuous monitoring (UniBEaM and Pi2) of the beam characteristics and of the dose. A movable stage allows for the irradiation of several components without accessing the BTL bunker. 

Irradiation setup. It consists of a quadrupole doublet (1), a beam viewer (2), the target vacuum valve (3), the collimator and beam current measurement system (4), the two-dimensional beam profile monitor (5), and an aluminium extraction window (6). The DUT is mounted and aligned on the remote controllable 2D stage (7).


Example of radiation hardness study conducted with the Bern cyclotron

The figure below shows one of the radiation hardness studies that are being conducted with the Bern cyclotron. 

Left: Irradiation setup of the electrical cable that will be used in the data transmission of the Inner Tracker pixel detector in the ATLAS experiment during the High-Luminosity phase of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Geneva. This cable is rolled up on a rotating spool, to allow for the exposure to the beam of the entire length of the cable. The spool is installed inside a vacuum chamber: this allows for high-dose irradiation steps, while keeping under control the radiation dispersed in air. Right: Example of a measurement conducted on the electrical cable, to verify its properties as a function of the absorbed dose (in this plot, measurement of the cable's insertion loss as a function of the data transmission frequency for several irradiation levels).


Selected publications

J. Anders, S. Braccini, T. Carzaniga, A. Ereditato, A. Fehr, F. Meloni, C. Merlassino, A. Miucci, M. Rimoldi, M. Weber, A facility for radiation hardness studies based on the Bern medical cyclotron; J. Anders et al 2022 JINST 17 P04021;