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Radiation testing of low cost, commercial off the shelf microcontroller board

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/10/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Nuclear Engineering and Technology
Issue number10
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)3335-3343
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/05/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The impact of gamma radiation on a commercial off the shelf microcontroller board has been investigated. Three different tests have been performed to ascertain the radiation tolerance of the device from a nuclear decommissioning deployment perspective. The first test analyses the effect of radiation on the output voltage of the on-board voltage regulator during irradiation. The second test evaluated the effect of gamma radiation on the voltage characteristics of analogue and digital inputs and outputs. The final test analyses the functionality of the microcontroller when using an external, shielded voltage regulator instead of the on-board voltage regulator. The results suggest that a series of latch-ups occurs in the microcontroller during irradiation, causing increased current drain which can damage the voltage regulator if it does not have short-circuit protection. The analogue to digital conversion functionality appears to be more sensitive to gamma radiation than digital and analogue output functionality. Using an external, shielded voltage regulator can prove beneficial when used for certain applications. The collected data suggests that detaching the voltage regulator can extend the lifespan of the platform up to approximately 350 Gy.