Radiation Hardness Assurance


SEE Laser Testing at ESA - What’s new

A. Pesce1, T. Borel1, C. Boatella Polo1, C. Poivey1, A. Costantino1, M. Muschitiello1

1 ESA/ESTEC, The Netherlands
  Radiation Hardness Assurance and Component Analysis Section



The SEE Laser testing at ESA - What’s new presentation will address the strategy in place at ESA to support the Radiation Hardness Assurance in the context of new ESA Mission Classification schemes and new approaches on the use of COTS devices and advanced technologies. Several initiatives have been supported over the years to guarantee the access to a network of irradiation facilities, guaranteeing the adequacy and availability of ion beams at various energies with a reliable dosimetry. These efforts are in continuous evolution, targeting the evolving needs required by new mission concepts and new technologies.

In line with the ESA Technology Strategy goals of improvement of spacecraft development time by 30% by 2023, one order of magnitude improvement of cost efficiency with every generation, and 30% faster development and adoption of innovative technology, ESA has launched a large initiative on COTS devices, from the definition of new requirements on the selection and use of COTS in different mission classes to the Open Space Innovation Platform COTS call for ideas.

As part of this strategy new investments in Lab equipment and new R&D studies have been put in place at ESA. Part of this plan included the acquisition of a SEE Laser test system, new equipment for devices opening, support to facilities to increase the availability high energy beams and enlarging the network of European supported irradiation facilities.  

Although laser testing has been used to support SEE investigations, it has never been used as part of a traditional RHA program. Due to inherent challenges (e.g. correlation between laser energy and particle LET mainly), traditional SEE testing using heavy-ions and protons have always been preferred, being far more representative of the type of particle interactions and effects which can occur in orbit. However, laser testing also offers some benefits, in particular related to COTS components not designed for space environments and meant to be used to reduce the overall cost of the missions. A new study has been initiated by ESA to look at SEE Laser testing as  a tool to test highly integrated and complex COTS (e.g. SoC) to highlight the sensitive areas and the various SEE modes (e.g. SEFI), reduce the number of heavy ions beam hours needed for radiation test campaigns, and be assessed as a new effective tool to screen COTS devices by analyzing the SEE sensitivity changes of parts from the same lot when lot traceability is unknown.

A lot to do and to learn on the topic of SEE laser testing as part of the Radiation Hardness Assurance at ESA. Cooperation amongst actors and comparison of results are needed to define a common approach to best exploit the SEE laser testing techniques. It is thanks to events and conferences like the RADHARD Symposium that new ideas can take off.



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