Standard Active Last Updated: Oct 10, 2019
ASTM E722-19

Standard Practice for Characterizing Neutron Fluence Spectra in Terms of an Equivalent Monoenergetic Neutron Fluence for Radiation-Hardness Testing of Electronics

Significance and Use

5.1 This practice is important in characterizing the radiation hardness of electronic devices irradiated by neutrons. This characterization makes it feasible to predict some changes in operational properties of irradiated semiconductor devices or electronic systems. To facilitate uniformity of the interpretation and evaluation of results of irradiations by sources of different fluence spectra, it is convenient to reduce the incident neutron fluence from a source to a single parameter—an equivalent monoenergetic neutron fluence—applicable to a particular semiconductor material.

5.2 In order to determine an equivalent monoenergetic neutron fluence, it is necessary to evaluate the displacement damage of the particular semiconductor material. Ideally, this quantity is correlated to the degradation of a specific functional performance parameter (such as current gain) of the semiconductor device or system being tested. However, this correlation has not been established unequivocally for all device types and performance parameters since, in many instances, other effects also can be important. Ionization effects produced by the incident neutron fluence or by gamma rays in a mixed neutron fluence, short-term and long-term annealing, and other factors can contribute to observed performance degradation (damage). Thus, caution should be exercised in making a correlation between calculated displacement damage and performance degradation of a given electronic device. The types of devices for which this correlation is applicable, and numerical evaluation of displacement damage are discussed in the annexes.

5.3 The concept of 1-MeV equivalent fluence is widely used in the radiation-hardness testing community. It has merits and disadvantages that have been debated widely (9-12). For these reasons, specifics of a standard application of the 1-MeV equivalent fluence are presented in the annexes.


1.1 This practice covers procedures for characterizing neutron fluence from a source in terms of an equivalent monoenergetic neutron fluence. It is applicable to neutron effects testing, to the development of test specifications, and to the characterization of neutron test environments. The sources may have a broad neutron-energy range, or may be mono-energetic neutron sources with energies up to 20 MeV. This practice is not applicable in cases where the predominant source of displacement damage is from neutrons of energy less than 10 keV. The relevant equivalence is in terms of a specified effect on certain physical properties of materials upon which the source spectrum is incident. In order to achieve this, knowledge of the effects of neutrons as a function of energy on the specific property of the material of interest is required. Sharp variations in the effects with neutron energy may limit the usefulness of this practice in the case of mono-energetic sources.

1.2 This practice is presented in a manner to be of general application to a variety of materials and sources. Correlation between displacements (1-3)2 caused by different particles (electrons, neutrons, protons, and heavy ions) is out of the scope of this practice but is addressed in Practice E3084. In radiation-hardness testing of electronic semiconductor devices, specific materials of interest include silicon and gallium arsenide, and the neutron sources generally are test and research reactors and californium-252 irradiators.

1.3 The technique involved relies on the following factors: (1) a detailed determination of the fluence spectrum of the neutron source, and (2) a knowledge of the degradation (damage) effects of neutrons as a function of energy on specific material properties.

1.4 The detailed determination of the neutron fluence spectrum referred to in 1.3 need not be performed afresh for each test exposure, provided the exposure conditions are repeatable. When the spectrum determination is not repeated, a neutron fluence monitor shall be used for each test exposure.

1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard, except for MeV, keV, eV, MeV·mbarn, rad(Si)·cm2, and rad(GaAs)·cm2.

1.6 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.

1.7 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: 28
DOI: 10.1520/E0722-19
ICS Code: 31.080.01