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Brown, Lead Underpants Moments?

Brown, Lead-Underpant Moments - RF CafeI normally avoid a headline like that, but Rajan Bedi, author of this short story on proton radiation susceptibility testing, really seems to like the term since it is used repeatedly throughout. It is funny and conjures up a number of less-than-flattering images. We are accustomed to reading about testing with electromagnetic beams (cosmic rays, x-rays, microwaves, mm-waves, etc.) and electron beams (beta rays), but proton beams (alpha rays) are mostly an unfamiliar entity. Most of us can tell you how to create the former, but how about creating the latter, and why is there a need to test for susceptibility to them? How do you shield against alpha rays? Fast-moving protons, being large and heavy, can dislodge atoms from semiconductor lattices, potentially affecting a circuit. Proton beams are generated using nuclear accelerators. Spaceborne platforms are particularly vulnerable. The test setup described used thick, paraffin-impregnated blocks, which I always thought were used for blocking neutrons, not protons, so maybe that is the secondary radiation mentioned. If the proton source is anything other than a hydrogen atom (not deuterium or tritium), then it probably has a neutron or two attached to it. Brown, lead underpants, though, will stop the protons.

Brown, Lead Underpants Moments? - RF Cafe

Posted  March 2013

 

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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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