Following a funding announcement by the
Cosmic rays hitting the Earth's atmosphere generate showers of particles including high energy neutrons. These are an invisible threat that can disrupt the normal operation of electronic systems.
University, Science and Cities Minister,
"The Government understands how vital it is to innovate and tackle the challenges that face our electronics industry. This funding is helping to develop a facility capable of putting safety critical circuits through their paces, making planes safer and the electronics on which we all depend more reliable."
The STFC team has found ways to trace a pencil beam of neutrons over a chip, or flood a rack of electronics with neutrons, enabling them to pinpoint vulnerable areas or testing whole systems in operational conditions.
"In building ChipIR at ISIS we have created a test facility that will allow the electronics industry to rapidly assess the vulnerabilities of their devices. We can mimic the cosmic rays' neutrons and, by putting an electronic device into their path, we can work out why that piece of electronics is being disrupted."
ChipIR will dramatically increase the speed of electronics testing and provide
"The electronics industry, ranging from aviation and automotive to communication and the internet, will use ChipIR to pinpoint problems and to find the most cost effective and robust solutions to keep making electronic systems that are reliable and robust, as they become more complex, smaller and faster."
High resolution versions of the images in TIF format from this article can be found here
* ISIS scientist Dr
* CHIPIR build 27 Jan (http://www.stfc.ac.uk/resources/image/chipir/14EC1748%20CHIPIR%20build%2027%20Jan.tif)
* CHIPIR build 10 April (http://www.stfc.ac.uk/resources/image/chipir/14EC2146%20CHIPIR%20build%2010%20April.tif)
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