When the Chips Are Down: How Neutron Sources Are Tackling Troublesome Alien Invaders

Friday, February 17, 2017: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 312 (Hynes Convention Center)
Christopher Frost, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, United Kingdom
Disruption from neutrons generated by space weather is a dominant problem for the reliability of modern electronics, particularly safety critical electronic systems in aviation. Strict high-reliability requirements result in greater demand of intense neutron beams for ‘accelerated’ reliability testing of electronic components and systems.

The ISIS neutron and muon source is a particle accelerator the size of a soccer pitch near Oxford in the UK that is a world-leading centre for research. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments gives unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale. We have built a test facility to help the electronics industry ensure the reliability and safety of their devices from exposure to cosmic ray neutrons. One hour in our test facility equates to hundreds of years equivalent in the device’s working environment. This will enable industry to establish the reliability of their devices and identify potential vulnerabilities long before a product reaches the marketplace.