Phase Two begins: Building work starts on new instrument

Monday 06 June 2011

Chipir's first components being lifted into place

John Randall oversees Chipir's first components, concrete bases for the W1 beam port, being lifted into place.
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After years of planning, building has begun for the first of the ISIS Second Target Station phase two instruments.

Concrete shielding for Chipir, an instrument designed to look at the effect of cosmic radiation on microchips, has been manufactured and laid into place. This shielding stops stray neutrons from the instrument entering the experimental hall, and creates a platform on which Chipir will be placed.

“It’s great to see it turning from a plan on piece of paper to a reality” said Chipir instrument scientist Chris Frost. “The team and I have been working for a number of years on the idea of having an instrument that can study the reliability of modern electronics in this way, and it’s fantastic that it’s finally underway.”

Chipir will be one of only a handful of facilities outside of the US capable of looking at the response of silicon microchips to cosmic radiation. Cosmic radiation has the power to cause the failure of critical electronic systems such as those found in aircraft and road vehicles. Problems can range from wiping a device’s memory to complete destruction of the electronics. The new neutron beam line will replicate the cosmic radiation affecting microchips from 100 years of flying time in the space of an hour. The findings will help manufacturers build more reliable electronic systems for use in cars, planes and other devices that govern our lives.

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