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Wearable device warns astronauts of increased radiation

11 Jan 2016  | Julien Happich

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"But this device, which can be worn in a pocket, shows the radiation levels in real time and can alarm astronauts if the dose goes above a certain threshold. In addition, it enables a time resolved personal radiation record for each astronaut," explained Jaksic.

"Designing the general concept of the instrument was the first challenge, as it needed to fully cover a complex radiation spectrum in space. For this reason, the MU comprises four sensors (thick silicon diode, thin silicon diode, Instadose and RADFET).

Then the sensors needed to be made to stringent requirements, including very good control of design parameters (junction depth/capacitance), low noise (leakage current) and repeatability [this was Tyndall's main responsibility]. The next challenge was comprehensive characterisation in the variety of radiation fields. Finally, system integration and tests to ESA/ISS standards were the last very demanding step," continued Jaksic.

RADFET chips

On top of a RADFET wafer, the RADFET chips designed at Cork's Tyndall National Institute.

For the research centre, the next step could be to apply the developed technologies and concepts to dosimetry in terrestrial applications, such as radiation workers' health and safety, personal dosimetry for first responders or the general population, and possibly the design of miniaturised radiation detectors built in mobile phones, or as wearables.

"Tyndall will be actively pursuing these goals with the RADFETs and diodes developed during EuCPAD," concluded the researcher.

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