CERN Accelerating science

A new database of irradiation facilities

by Panos Charitos

Detector and accelerator developers need irradiation facilities to test their components under conditions that are as close as possible to real applications, as well as to predict and prevent failures in materials.

The foreseen high-luminosity upgrade of the LHC (HL-LHC) and future accelerator projects like the Future Circular Collider (FCC) where much higher radiation levels are expected, call for new and more sophisticated irradiation facilities which are not necessarily available in-house at CERN.

Recently, a new database of irradiation facilities at CERN, in Europe and around the world has been published online as part of the work of AIDA-2020 Work Package 15. With a total of about 200 entries (at the end of 2017) it is the largest and likely most unique database of this kind in the world. The information contained in every entry is now undergoing validation by the facility coordinators.

The front page of the irradiation facilities database website (Image: CERN)

“With every validated entry the database gathers more momentum and we are confident that we’ll have a largely validated and comprehensive list in the next months,” says Federico Ravotti, CERN’s irradiation facility spokesperson.

Irradiation experiments will be more and more important for a successful and safe development of detectors and accelerator systems.  As Ravotti notes: “Irradiation facilities, as the one available at CERN, can simulate long-term effects and operational conditions normally occurring over a period of several years within a few days or even hours thus allowing to safely test prototypes and understand how they would behave in the real conditions of a collider”. CERN Irradiation team, within EP-DT-DD, provides support to the EP department and CERN users in planning irradiation experiments at the above mentioned CERN facilities and organizes irradiation campaigns in facilities outside CERN.

The new database was set up by Blerina Gkotse and Georgi Gorine, two PhD students of the irradiation facilities team under the supervision of Federico Ravotti. “It will help potential users to find the most appropriate irradiation facility for their equipment. It’s a collaborative database”, they say.

The database offers a comprehensive list of contact details as well as high level of information. It features a map for a quick overview and several filters allowing a search by country, source type or radiation type. For example, if you are in the UK looking for a place to irradiate your sample with gamma rays from a Cobalt-60 source, you can very quickly find four entries. Moreover, each database entry shows an essential but exhaustive list of useful information that can ease the choice of the correct facility, such as the minimum and maximum dose/fluence, irradiation conditions, safety rules and the facility’s homepage.These data will be validated and updated, if needed, by the facility coordinators every year. In this way, the irradiation facilities database, in contrast to previous irradiation facilities data collections, will always be up-to-date.  

Although the database was originally developed for the particle detectors and accelerators community, it also includes facilities that offer services for space, medical, energy fields among many others.


Visit the new Irradiation Facilities Database: