Purpose – This paper aims to describe the effects of radiation on certain classes of sensors and electronic devices and discusses the sensors used in high radiation environments. Design/methodology/approach – Following an introduction, this paper firstly discusses the effects of radiation on semiconductors. It then considers the sensor technologies employed in high radiation applications and examines the impact of radiation on MEMS devices. Finally, it describes a radiation‐tolerant imaging sensor technology. Findings – Ionising and non‐ionising radiation in terrestrial and space environments can exert a detrimental effect on semiconductor devices and has led to the development of a range of radiation hardening technologies. Most of the sensors used in nuclear power plants utilise long‐established and well‐characterised technologies which are inherently radiation‐tolerant but silicon MEMS devices are more prone to damage and a range of failure mechanisms have been identified. Most conventional image sensors are susceptible to radiation damage but a radiation‐hard technology termed the charge‐injection device has been developed which overcomes these problems. Originality/value – This paper provides details of the sensor technologies used in high radiation applications.
Sensor Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 14, 2013
Keywords: Sensors; Nuclear power; Space; Radiation; Radiation hardening; MEMS; Imaging
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