Introduction

We support UK tech companies and universities in the research and development of radiation resilient products for application in the Space, Accelerator, Ground, Aviation and Nuclear (SAGAN) industries. A common theme in these industries is operation in radiation environments. The damaging effects of radiation on components and systems ranges from performance degradation to catastrophic failure.

With over 20 years experience in computational modelling and irradiation testing, we offer consultancy services and expertise in evaluating the impact of radiation on sensor technologies and electronic systems:

Computational modelling plays a crucial role in simulating radiation environments and is a powerful and cost effective method (compared to testing) for optimising product design or evaluating shielding mitigation strategies. We use the latest state-of-the-art 3D Monte Carlo simulation tools (e.g. FLUKA, GEANT4, MCNP6) and provide radiation simulation services to CERN and industry, with projects to date valuing over £100M.

Irradiation testing plays a key role in the testing and qualification of components and systems. We have led on numerous test campaigns and have strong links with irradiation facilities, which include: powerful cobalt 60 gamma sources for investigating ionising dose damage; nuclear research reactors for studying dose and atomic displacement damage; high energy proton beams for bulk damage and ionising dose studies. For recent examples of gamma and neutron irradiations see here and here respectively. The proton facility was co-designed by the Sheffield team. We provide guidance and support throughout tests (especially useful for SMEs) to ensure a successful irradiation campaign, and encourage in situ testing to monitor performance.

About us

The SAGAN radiation team has some 20 years of experience simulating radiation environments and testing and evaluating the impact on sensor and readout instrumentation. Dr. Ian Dawson coordinates the team’s activities and is a leading radiation expert at CERN, with major contributions to the design, construction and physics exploitation of the successful ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. A key responsibility of the SAGAN team is determining which technologies are suitable for application in the challenging radiation environments found at the LHC. Typically, radiation hardened technologies are required, but in some cases commercial off-the-shelf systems can be employed, in conjunction with radiation mitigation strategies such as optimised shielding design. In addition to expert services for CERN, the SAGAN team also works with UK tech companies in the research and development of products for application in challenging radiation environments. A recent example is the development of radiation resilient ultrasound transducers for NDT application in the nuclear industry, supported by Innovate UK.

The team:

Dr. Ian Dawson – Senior physicist at CERN and the University of Sheffield. Expert with international reputation in simulating high-energy particle and nuclear radiation environments and evaluating the impact on state-of-the-art sensor technologies. In 2018 Dr. Dawson was awarded a one year commission from CERN to evaluate the impact of radiation across all the major experiments of the LHC, for which he organised several workshops. The conclusions are currently being written up as a key CERN publication to serve as a major reference for future accelerator initiatives.

Dr. Katherine Krawec – Research Associate at the University of Sheffield with expertise in simulating radiation backgrounds for the nuclear industry using the GEANT4 particle transport code. PhD in radiation chemistry.

Dr. Paul Miyagawa – Research Associate at the University of Sheffield responsible for simulating radiation backgrounds at the CERN Large Hadron Collider using the FLUKA particle transport software