Standard Active Last Updated: Jul 28, 2022
ASTM E721-22

Standard Guide for Determining Neutron Energy Spectra from Neutron Sensors for Radiation-Hardness Testing of Electronics

Significance and Use

4.1 It is important to know the energy spectrum of the particular neutron source employed in radiation-hardness testing of electronic devices in order to relate radiation effects with device performance degradation.

4.2 This guide describes the factors which must be considered when the spectrum adjustment methodology is chosen and implemented. Although the selection of sensors (foils) and the determination of responses (activities) is discussed in Guide E720, the experiment should not be divorced from the analysis. In fact, it is advantageous for the analyst conducting the spectrum determination to be closely involved with the design of the experiment to ensure that the data obtained will provide the most accurate spectrum possible. These data include the following: (1) measured responses such as the activities of foils exposed in the environment and their uncertainties, (2) response functions such as reaction cross sections along with appropriate correlations and uncertainties, (3) the geometry and materials in the test environment, and (4) a trial function or prior spectrum and its uncertainties obtained from a transport calculation or from previous experience.


1.1 This guide covers procedures for determining the energy-differential fluence spectra of neutrons used in radiation-hardness testing of electronic semiconductor devices. The types of neutron sources specifically covered by this guide are fission or degraded energy fission sources used in either a steady-state or pulse mode.

1.2 This guide provides guidance and criteria that can be applied during the process of choosing the spectrum adjustment methodology that is best suited to the available data and relevant for the environment being investigated.

1.3 This guide is to be used in conjunction with Guide E720 to characterize neutron spectra and is used in conjunction with Practice E722 to characterize damage-related parameters normally associated with radiation-hardness testing of electronic semiconductor devices.

Note 1: Although Guide E720 only discusses activation foil sensors, any energy-dependent neutron-responding sensor for which a response function is known may be used (1).2

Note 2: For terminology used in this guide, see Terminology E170.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.6 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 12.02
Developed by Subcommittee: E10.07
Pages: 12
DOI: 10.1520/E0721-22
ICS Code: 83.140.10