SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1994

Investigation of Laboratory Neutron Spectral Characterizations Used for the Testing of Electronic Parts


A methodology has been investigated for verifying that a neutron energy spectrum measured for an environment correctly predicts the bulk displacement damage observed in a silicon electronic device. The technique makes use of a package of silicon bipolar transistors (2N2222A), monitor activation foils (such as sulfur pellets), and thermoluminescence detectors (TLDs) that is placed in the test environment. The TLDs and monitors are then used to correct for any gamma-induced damage and to scale the reactor power in the test irradiation to that predicted by the neutron spectrum which is being investigated. Although the package has been very successful in demonstrating agreement between measured and calculated damage at SNL, for most of the outside environments reported on here, the sensor sets used proved to have inadequate energy sensitivity coverage to define the spectrum satisfactorily. Therefore the transistors were used instead as spectrum sensors to provide sensitivity in the crucial energy region between 0.1 and 2.0 MeV. This results in the loss of the independent verification, but leads to a higher fidelity spectrum because of the improved coverage. The technique greatly facilitates inter- and intralaboratory comparisons of effects testing and spectrum determinations.

Author Information

Kelly, JJG
Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, NM
Griffin, PJ
Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, NM
Raupach, DC
Penn State University, Radiation Science and Engineering Center, University Park, PA
Daubenspect, TH
Penn State University, Radiation Science and Engineering Center, University Park, PA
Bennion, JS
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Newell, DL
McClellan Nuclear Radiation Center, McClellan AFB, CA
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Developed by Committee: E10
Pages: 578–587
DOI: 10.1520/STP15153S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5281-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1899-7