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ASTM E720-04e1

ASTM E720-04e1

Standard Guide for Selection and Use of Neutron Sensors for Determining Neutron Spectra Employed in Radiation-Hardness Testing of Electronics

2010-12-31 /Historical
Superseeded by:
Significance and Use:

Because of the wide variety of materials being used in neutron-activation measurements, this guide is presented with the objective of bringing improved uniformity to the specific field of interest here: hardness testing of electronics primarily in critical assembly reactor environments.

Note 2—Some of the techniques discussed are useful for 14-MeV dosimetry. See Test Method E 496 for activation detector materials suitable for 14-MeV neutron effects testing.

Note 3—The materials recommended in this guide are suitable for 252Cf or other weak source effects testing provided the fluence is sufficient to generate countable activities.

This guide is organized into two overlapping subjects; the criteria used for sensor selection, and the procedures used to ensure the proper determination of activities for determination of neutron spectra. See Terminology E 170 and General Methods E 181. Determination of neutron spectra with activation sensor data is discussed in Guides E 721 and E 944.


1.1 This guide covers the selection and use of neutron-activation detector materials to be employed in neutron spectra adjustment techniques used for radiation-hardness testing of electronic semiconductor devices. Sensors are described that have been used at many radiation hardness-testing facilities, and comments are offered in table footnotes concerning the appropriateness of each reaction as judged by its cross-section accuracy, ease of use as a sensor, and by past successful application. This guide also discusses the fluence-uniformity, neutron self-shielding, and fluence-depression corrections that need to be considered in choosing the sensor thickness, the sensor covers, and the sensor locations. These considerations are relevant for the determination of neutron spectra from assemblies such as TRIGA- and Godiva-type reactors and from Californium irradiators. This guide may also be applicable to other broad energy distribution sources up to 20 MeV.

Note 1—For definitions on terminology used in this guide, see Terminology E 170.

1.2 This guide also covers the measurement of the gamma-ray or beta-ray emission rates from the activation foils and other sensors as well as the calculation of the absolute specific activities of these foils. The principal measurement technique is high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometry. The activities are used in the determination of the energy-fluence spectrum of the neutron source. See Guide E 721.

1.3 Details of measurement and analysis are covered as follows:

1.3.1 Corrections involved in measuring the sensor activities include those for finite sensor size and thickness in the calibration of the gamma-ray detector, for pulse-height analyzer deadtime and pulse-pileup losses, and for background radioactivity.

1.3.2 The primary method for detector calibration that uses secondary standard gamma-ray emitting sources is considered in this guide and in General Methods E 181. In addition, an alternative method in which the sensors are activated in the known spectrum of a benchmark neutron field is discussed in Guide E 1018.

1.3.3 A data analysis method is presented which accounts for the following: detector efficiency; background subtraction; irradiation, waiting, and counting times; fission yields and gamma-ray branching ratios; and self-absorption of gamma rays and neutrons in the sensors.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

activation foils; neutron activation; neutron spectra; radiation-hardness testing
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