Irradiation Services

1 - MAPRAD laboratories, Infrared 15 ns, 20 W peak power pulsed laser system

This setup is particularly useful for radiation sensitivity mapping of ICs and for debugging of  instrumentation and circuitry prior to go to the irradiation site. For this purpose it has been used by major research centers and industry (Tesat, ESA, IMEC, SITAEL;  proceeding by G.Magistrati et al. SEE-MAPLD2014, AMICSA13-14). 

The DUT is placed on submicron precision movement system and scanned under the fixed IR beam spot (of a few micron FWHM). The beam positioning, intensity and environmental parameters are controlled by dedicated software. 

Technical specifications: The system consists of an IR (915 nm) pulsed laser with an average pulse width of 15 ns and peak power of 20 W (at 10 kHz rpf). It also includes a set of optical focusing lenses, a submicron sensitive XYZ Theta mechanical assembly, laser profile detectors and a GHz oscilloscope.



“The radiation sensitivity mapping of ICs using an IR pulsed laser system”, B.Alpat et al,  Microelectronics Reliability 43 (2003) 981–984.

“A pulsed nanosecond IR laser diode system to automatically test the Single Event Effects in the laboratory”, B.Alpat et. al,  Nucl. Ins. & Meth. in Phys. Res. A 485 (2002) 183–186.

“Radiation hardness assurance: Innovative aspects and challenges”, B.Alpat et al., Proc. of SPIE Vol. 11042 1104210-1

2 - ENEA Frascati, UV/VUV tests (solar effect simulator)

We have developed a relatively low cost, transportable UV irradiation system in collaboration with ENEA-Frascati to irradiate a set of nano-hybrid polyamide film samples up to 3000 equivalent solar hours. The work was carried out with the support of two ESA contracts and by  SMART-FLEX project ( ).

Technical specifications: Samples are placed at the bottom of a cylindrical irradiation chamber, which is closed by a quartz window. A Helios Quartz mercury lamp is placed over the window. After degassing (Vacuum at 10 – 5 mbar), the chamber is filled with 1.1 bar of static He, which allows an adequate heat distribution during irradiation to keep the substrate temperature below 40 ° C. The overall setup includes air and water cooling systems, UV and visible light detectors, temperature data acquisition system and a webcam for real-time remote control of the main experimental parameters over the entire irradiation period.



“First Surface Flexible Optical Solar Reflectors with Interferential Cermet Coatings”, S. Mengali et al., Proceedings of the 14th ISMSE & 12th ICPMSE, Biarritz, France, 1 to 5 October 2018.

”Test Di Substrati per Telescopi Spaziali: Irraggiamenti Nell’ultravioletto di Film Poliimmide in Aria, Vuoto E Atmosfera Controllata “, P. Di Lazzaro et al., ENEA Technical Report RT / 2017/9 / ENEA (2017).

“Testing of Substrates for Flexible Optical Solar Reflectors: Irradiations of Nano-hybrid Coatings of Polyimide Films with 20 keV Electrons and with 200- 400 nm Ultraviolet Radiation”, B.Alpat et al., 2019 JINST 14 T06003″


3 - Fraunhofer, FEP, Darmstad, for low/medium energy high intensity electron irradiations (0.6 - 1.5 MeV)

The site provides uniform low energy electron beam over a large beam spot area. A long period of preparation was carried out to adapt the facility, instrumentation and tools to perform the irradiation of solar cells, optics, polymers following ECSS/ESA procedures and requirements (unpacking/packing, handling, irradiation etc.)

  • Beam energy ranges from 0.6 to 1.5 MeV
  • Dose rates typically from 4.5 kGy/min to 50 kGy/min, 3×1011 e/(cm2s) and 5×1012 e/(cm2s). Fluences up to 1017  e/cm2 or higher can be reached 
  • Uniformity (within 10%) beam area size approx. 12cm x 80cm
  • Passive dosimetry with TLDs to assess the dose rate and beam spot uniformity prior to each irradiation session start

Maprad has developed complex irradiation boxes to operate in multiple environments. These boxes have a stainless steel body (to resist to high dose rates) and an aluminum cooling plate to preserve sample temperature 

  • Samples are irradiated under inert gas (nitrogen). The oxygen contamination in the irradiation volume is continuously monitored and data is stored
  • Water cooling system to keep the irradiated samples at the desired temperature (typically between 12 to 22 °C) even under very high electron flux and fluence values. Water temperature flowing through the cooling plate is adjustable from 4 to 13 °C 
  • Cooling plate temperature is continuously monitored with T probes and the samples are positioned onto and kept firmly in place on the cooling plate through micro vacuum holes  
  • The irradiation box (overall irradiation area of 10 cm x 80 cm) can accommodate solar cells, optics or polymer samples of different dimensions and quantities 
  • We have two identical boxes being able to irradiate a certain number of samples during the same session. In this case the two boxes are placed on a conveyer band which moves the boxes under or out of the beam spot.

4 - Electron-LINAC of Terni Hospital (Italy), electron beam with energies from 4 to 20 MeV

The electron-LINAC of St. Maria Hospital (AOT) located in Terni, Italy, provides  the electrons with the energy range from 4 to 20 MeV. This e-LINAC, within a cooperation agreement and collaboration with the hospital, is prepared to irradiate semiconductors, optics, polymers, particle detectors etc. with energy ranges and fluxes of interest for aerospace community. 

At a 100 cm working distance the electron flux is about 5.107 e/(cm2s) and can be scaled down to few particles per second at larger distances. The beam profile, electron energy and flux are measured  by semiconductor based detector (by MAPRAD) and also by Advanced Markus Chamber(AMC) provided by AOT.

5 - INFN-LNS (Catania, Italy) at superconducting cyclotron for SEE and DD tests with heavy ions and protons

Laboratori Nazionali del Sud (LNS) is one of the four national laboratories of INFN. The research activity is mainly devoted to the study of structure and properties of atomic nuclei, in collaboration with researchers coming from several countries.

At LNS two particle accelerators are available: a 15 MV Tandem Van De Graaff that in the early ’80s was used for the first experiments, and a K800 Superconducting Cyclotron in full operation since 1996.

For SEE test and for proton (from few MeV to 60 MeV) irradiations, MAPRAD developed a new dosimetry system based on silicon photomultilpliers (SIPM). Four SIPMs are located at fixed positions around the DUT and the fifth one is movable in front of DUT. The system provides real time flux and beam spot uniformity. The irradiation setup is operating in air with all advantages that this implies.

6 - INFN Perugia and University of Perugia Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with electron energies from 15-to-30 keV

To simulate the plasma charging effects, we have proposed and built an alternative way of testing small film samples for space using 20 keV electrons from a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). For standard usage, the spot size of a SEM at its focal point is at the level of few nanometers, therefore a very high current density corresponding to much higher electron flux with respect to the requested by relevant ECSS/ESA standards. The equipment has been optimized to find a working point several centimeters below the focal point to obtain a large electron beam scanning surface. We have measured the flux at the surface of a sample placed at working point using gafchromic film and analyzed in 3-D image showing the beam profile obtained with parameters as requested by the test standard. This technique can be used in most SEMs with beam energies up to few tens of keV.

Technical specifications: Electron energy is used as the working point where the electron beam unfolds on the surface below the normal working point in SMs where the density is suitable for the optical aperture. Advantages: There are very few ad-hoc developed facilities for this test and they do not respond to the needs. The most important of these is ESA-ESTEC. Any SEM (which includes the majority of this) that can be applied to this method can perform these tests.

Customers served: ESA, CONSORZIO CREO


“Radiation hardness assurance: Innovative aspects and challenges”, B. Alpat et al., Proc. of SPIE Vol. 11042 1104210-1, 2019.

Other MAPRAD patner sites

1. UCL-Université Catholique de Louvain (Louvain La Neuve, Belgium) and RADEF-Finland for SEE and DD testing in vacuum with heavy ions.

  • In UCL-LIF (Light Ion Facility) to test the DUT behavior at very low surface LET values 
  • In UCL-HIF (Heavy Ion Facility) for surface LET values up to 60 MeV/mg/cm2
  •  In RADEF two cocktails are available with surface LET values from around 1 to about 60 MeV/mg/cm2
  • Both facilities provide beam uniformity, where ion fluxes and ranges in silicon are in accordance with ECSS/ESA standard.

2. CNA Seville and HZDR Dresden for proton irradiations

  •  In these sites we can prepare, execute and assist in all phases your irradiation campaign with protons from 0.04 MeV to 50 MeV and electrons from 0.6 MeV to 30 MeV, with particle fluxes from single particle to about 1013 particles/(cm2.s). The beam parameters and performances are compliant with ECSS/ESA standards.

3. ESTEC/ESA, TAEA-SANAEM (Ankara, Turkey), ENEA-Calliope (Rome, Italy), Univerista’ di Palermo, CNR-ISOF , UCL-Université Catholique de Louvain (Louvain La Neuve, Belgium) facilities for  60Co gamma ray source for TID irradiation;  high-dose, ELDRS (Enhanced Low Dose Rate Sensitivity) and industrial dose rates

  • MAPRAD has executed many tests in all of these Co-60 gamma irradiation sites. The available Dose rates are from ELDRS dose rate values (0.5 – to -10 mrad(Si)/s)  up to industrial dose rate values of 10 kGY/h and to TID values of 15 MGy.
  • We can irradiate a single IC component die as well as an Euro-pallet size of about 500 kg.

4- Frascati Neutron Generator (FNG-ENEA) for neutrons of 14 MeV (2.5 MeV is also possible)

  • The FNG facility can provide accurately measured fast neutron fluxes up to 5∙109 n/(cm2.s). It produces up to 1∙1011 n/s of 14 MeV neutrons in continuous or pulsed mode (minimum pulse length 6 μs.)
  • FNG can also produce 2.5 MeV neutrons by using deuterated targets by means of the D(d,n)3He fusion reaction with the maximum neutron flux of 5∙107 n/(cm2.s) in continuous or pulsed mode.