Radiation Effects Testing


Providing Dedicated Radiation Effects Testing Expertise and Facilities

VPT Radiation Laboratory and Test Services (VPT Rad®) provides specialized environments and test solutions for evaluating electronics used in aerospace and nuclear applications where ionizing radiation can degrade the service life of the electronic devices. We provide both engineered and turn-key test solutions for Radiation Lot Acceptance Testing (RLAT) to characterize performance changes in devices due to effects of ionizing radiation.

VPT Rad has commercial laboratory suitability approval from the Defense Logistic Agency (DLA) to perform radiation testing on electronic components for Test Method 1019 Conditions A, C, and D, Test Method 1080 per MIL-STD-750 and Test Method 1017 per MIL-STD-750 and MIL-STD-883. We also service radiation test needs for customers and programs outside the U.S. using test methods compliant to ESCC 22990. View our radiation services overview sheet.

State of the Art
Radiation Effects Testing - Satellite

State-of-the-Art Irradiation & Testing

Located just 20 miles north of Boston in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, our state-of-the-art irradiation and testing facility has:

  • In-house Cobalt-60 irradiators optimized for Total Ionizing Dose (TID)
  • NIST certified traceable alanine dosimetry system
  • DLA Approved Quality Assurance Program
  • ESD protection program

We have a NIST certified traceable alanine dosimetry system that is:

  • Highly accurate (dose rate and energy independent)
  • Insensitive to temperature and humidity
  • Large range in dose measurement
  • Dosimeters can be archived for re-evaluation

As well as Comprehensive Dose Mapping on both High and Low dose irradiators:

  • Lose Dose: Uncertainty to within 3%. Distribution ±2% per container.
  • High Dose: Uncertainty to within 3%. Distribution ±5%.

Low Dose

Low-Dose Rate (LDR) TID Facilities

  • Dose Rates from 0.01 to 15 rad (Si)/s
  • MIL-STD-883/750 Test Method 1019 Condition C and D compliant
  • ELDRS (Enhanced Low Dose Radiation Sensitivity) Analysis
  • TM-1019 Compliant Pb/Al Containers

The Low-Dose Rate (LDR) Broad Beam Broad Beam facility consists of a 16’ x 12’ radiation vault housing a cobalt-60 gamma beam irradiator. A uniform radiation beam is emitted through a single divergent beam port on the irradiator. A range of dose rates from 0.01 to 0.1 rad(Si)/sec is available by varying the distance to the beam port.  Lead-aluminum test boxes provide energy spectrum hardening for the device under test (DUT). The DUT is positioned using a precise and versatile positioning system. An adjacent laboratory area provides a location for bias power supplies, monitoring, and test instrumentation.

A 4-in square conduit between the lab area and vault provides ample space for running instrumentation cabling. A typical cable length is less than 40 ft. Accurate radiation dosimetry is assured by use of a NIST traceable dosimetry system.

The Low-Dose Rate (LDR) Tunnel Irradiator provides a range of dose rates from 0.01 to 15 rad(Si)/sec and can accommodate a 7”x 9” Pb-Al container or a 10” x 10” sample without a container.

Low-Dose Rate (LDR) TID Facilities

High Dose

High Dose Rate (HDR) / Total Ionizing Dose (TID) Gamma Irradiation Testing

  • Dose rates up to 150 rad (Si)/s
  • MIL-STD-750 & 883 Test Method 1019 A, C and D compliant
  • TM-1019 compliant Pb/Al boxes

The High-Dose Rate (HDR) facility is an externally shielded annular cobalt-60 irradiator providing a nearly omnidirectional gamma radiation environment for samples placed in the center of the source. A cylindrical cavity having dimensions 8-inches in height and 6-inches in diameter at the center of the source provides ample space for irradiating materials. A cylindrical canister with internal dimensions of 6.25-inches in height and 5.5-inches in diameter is available for MIL-STD-883/750 TM 1019 compliant TID testing. A 1.25-inch port provides access for wire and cable access. A maximum dose rate of 150 rad(Si)/sec is available. A reduced dose rate (50%) is available with the use of lead shielding. The radiation dose measurement uncertainty is within 3% and the dose distribution is within 5%. Laboratory space adjacent to the irradiator provides a location for bias power supplies, monitoring, and test instrumentation.

Single Event

Single Event Effects & Neutron Irradiation Testing Support

Our DLA lab suitability also covers support for off-site neutron irradiation testing for Displacement Damage Dose (DDD) under Test Method 1017, as well as test support for heavy ion Single Events Effects (SEE) testing at TAMU, Berkeley and Brookhaven National Laboratories.

Our Single Event Effects (SEE) test solutions include:

  • Design and Development of Test Software/Hardware
  • Optimized Test Planning & Implementation per ESCC25100 or JESD57
  • DLA Lab suitability for MIL-STD 750 TM 1080
  • Determine Heavy Ion Cross Sections for Both Components and Systems

Our Neutron Irradiation Testing for Displacement Damage Dose (DDD) includes:

  • Capabilities for MIL-STD-883/750 TM 1017
  • Flux range of 1.0E8 to 1.0E11 n/cm2-sec (1MeV Eq. Si)
  • Large 8”x 8” uniform beam
  • Licensed to accept neutron irradiated parts
  • Qualified staff, trained to handle and test parts with residual radioactivity

Aerospace Defense

Radiation has a detrimental effect on the operation of some materials and components used in harsh radiation environments such as space, military applications, and nuclear power industries. In particular, radiation can affect aerospace electronics, resulting in malfunctions and failures of components and systems.

The need for radiation hardness assured (RHA) components began over 50 years ago with the growth of civilian and defense aerospace industries and continues today. On average, 100 new satellites are launched each year – representing a $50 billion industry consisting of NASA, defense, and the commercial needs of television, radio, telephone, GPS, imaging, weather, etc. Today’s world economy is strongly dependent on satellite data capability and all satellites need to be replaced over time. In addition to the defense market, RHA components are used in NASA and commercial satellites, and in radiation environments associated with medical and nuclear power industries.

Vendors of high reliability electronic components used in radiation environments are required to provide a series of qualifying tests. The test type can vary depending on the electronic device and its specific application. The two essential components for qualifying RHA electronics are the component irradiation and the electronic test capacity. The irradiation is performed with a suitable commercial device by qualified operations personnel. The electronic tests require suitable electronic test equipment, a qualified program of testing, and adequately trained test personnel. The integration of these capabilities provides a highly desirable engineering test solution for qualifying RHA electronic components.

Our facilities provide radiation environments for Total Ionizing Dose (TID) testing and Enhanced Low Dose Radiation Sensitivity (ELDRS) testing. In addition, we provide expertise in Single Events Effects (SEE) testing and Displacement Damage Dose (DDD) testing. Our services include device preparation, data collection, and the complete and comprehensive reporting of results.

View our radiation services overview sheet.

Newsletter Signup