Birmingham Irradiations

Radiation safety

Slides from training on 20 October 2017: safetytraining2017laura2.pdf

University of Birmingham radiation safety website:

Irradiations at Birmingham MC40

This page is meant to collect information to run irradiations at the MC40 cyclotron in Birmingham.

The general procedure for the irradiations is:

  • sample preparation
  • beam alignment
  • sample installation
  • cooling down
  • irradiation
  • warming up
  • sample removal and storage
  • offline dosimetry
  • sample shipment (if applicable)

Sample preparation

Bare sensors are embedded in two layers of kapton tape, one on the back and one on the front. The one on the back is used to stick to sensor to it. The one on the front should not have the sticky part on the sensor, to avoid glue residuals on the pads. Carbon frames with cut-outs are used to old the sensors in place.

In case the sample to irradiate has wire bonds (typ. ASICs/module on PCB), a frame (3D printed or aluminium) is used to protect the wire bonds. The frame can be fixed with kapton tape. If the backside of the chip has no PCB layer underneath, put a layer of kapton to avoid scratches.

Ni foils for dosimetry are positioned on top of the sample with kapton tape. Large Ni foils (i.e. k type) should be used for point-to-point irradiation.

Once prepared the samples are mounted on aluminum frame for cooling and suspened from the box lid for irradiations.





Beam alignment

Put the gafchromic film on the top left of the aluminum, i.e. where the beam home position is. Make sure that the gafchromic film is not over-exposed otherwise the beam spot will be much larger and the alignment will not be correct!

After alignment is done, remove the gafchromic film and store it in the logbook.

Refer to Scanning_notes.pdf.

Instructions to operate the robot scanning system


  • Always start with the VI for parking and homing
  • When starting/running a VI, a window pops up. When it says "deployment completed successfully" press "close"
  • When running an irradiation in scanning mode, the VI does not support "STOP" and if you abort the system will crash, so DO NOT STOP/ABORT a scan!!!
  • Before closing a VI, make sure it is stopped
  • Always leave the box in park position after irradiation
  • Do not save the project when closing it
  • If the PC needs to stay ON overnight, restart it in the morning before switching on the motors and the LabVIEW?
  • If a problem arises do not take initiative. Just contact Hector
  • Note down in the logbook the start and stop time of the irradiation, and the number of counts at the faraday cup with the scale. They are needed to calculate the fluence

Start-up procedure

  • Switch ON right box (labelled X)
  • Wait 5-10 seconds
  • Switch ON left box (labelled Y)
  • On the right box there is a second switch (just behind the one you pressed before). This powers the Norhof and the fan. If they are on the blue LED is on
  • Switch ON the PC. Wait a couple of minutes that it finishes the connection to the network. It is very important that the connection to the network is established BEFORE starting LabVIEW? . Check the network icon on the right end of the task bar. As long as there is a blue circle on it, do not open LabVIEW? !
  • From the start menu or the task bar, start LabVIEW? 2015
  • Select the project called " C:\Users\Hector\Documents\The University of Sheffield\20160706_UoB New PC\E\Users\Atlas\Desktop\Birmingham 2\20160215_UoS_Cyclotron_10.lvproj "
  • Right click on the controller (i.e. NI_cRI09022-015E9E20) and press "Connect"
  • Open " 20160129_W520_UoB_Parker-Pillar_INIT_ResetPos_XY-Arrays& "
  • Press run (i.e. the arrow on the left)
  • To PARK the box press "Start referencing" and "STOP", one after the other. Do not wait for the box to stop moving to press "STOP". This is very important, otherwise the VI does not stop running after parking!!!
  • To go HOME press "Start referencing" and "Start homing", again one after the other
  • Check the values it gives of Yinit-Pillar and Xinit-Parker, and note them in the logbook. This is the home position!

Irradiation in scanning mode

  • Put the box in the home position. This is very important because the next VI you open will need to get the values of Yinit-Pillar and Xinit-Pillar corresponding to the ones for the home position!
  • Open " 20160129_UoB_Beam Current and ". This VI calculates the number of runs needed to get to 1x10^15 neq/cm2. If you do not want 1x10^15 neq/cm2 then reduce/increase the number of runs calculated by the VI of the correct amount
  • Press run
  • Feed in the required values (current, increment, velocity, height, lenght, x-/y- offset). Refer to Scanning_notes.pdf to calculate the height, lenght and x-/y- offsets. Please remember to also note them down in the logbook
  • Press the tick on the upper left corner
  • Have a look at the paramenters on the right. They should be consistent with the values of the Yinit-Pillar and Xinit-Pillar after homing the box
  • Open " 20160204_W520_UoB_Pillar-Parker ". This VI controls the scan having read in parameters from "20160129_UoB_Beam Current and"
  • Go back to " 20160129_UoB_Beam Current and " and press "STOP". This needs to be done this way so that the parameters for the scan are loaded from this VI to " 20160204_W520_UoB_Pillar-Parker "
  • Go back to " 20160204_W520_UoB_Pillar-Parker "
  • Check that the scan is setup correctly and the system works fine: put an aluminium frame with gafchromic film in the box instead of the sample to irradiate, set the number of runs to 1, press run, and ask the operator to start the beam
  • If the correct area is scanned, put the smaple in the box and input the correct number of runs in the program
  • Click the tick symbol (on upper bar) to input properly the value
  • Ask the operator to reset the number of counts at the faraday cup
  • Press run (arrow on upper bar) and start the irradiation
Irradiation in point-to-point mode

  • To calculate the time of the irradiation to get to the target fluence use the spreadsheet Fluence-TID-May16-lg.xlsx
  • You need to add 20% more time to account for beam inhomogeneity
  • Open " 20160204_XY-Manual "
  • Set the target X and Y position. Remember that "x = Home – Δx" moves the box to the shielding, and "y = Home + Δy moves the box up". Δx and Δy are calculated as the distance in x and y from the center of the beam spot at home and the center of the sensor to be irradiated
  • Click the tick symbol (on upper bar) to input properly the values
  • Press run. The box moves to the target position and the VI stops
  • To move only in x or y use resp. " 20160204_X_Manual " or " 20160204_Y_Manual ", which work analogously
At the end of the irradiation (after warming up the sample)

  • Put the box back in PARK position
  • Stop and close all VIs
  • Right click on the controller and press disconnect
  • Close the project. DO NOT SAVE!!!
  • Close LabVIEW?
  • Switch off the left box
  • Wait 5-10sec
  • Switch off the right box
  • Switch off the PC

Cooling down and warming up procedures (i.e. operation of the Norhof system)

  • Start the Arduino system (see instructions below)
  • Make sure the box is sealed with tape!
  • Make sure the fan is ON
  • Flush N2 for approx. 30 minutes (or until the RH reading on the Arduino is stable) before starting cooling
  • Lauch the two Norhof programs from the icon on the desktop. They are called "NorhofPumpDrive" and "NorhofPumpMonitor"
  • In "NorhofPumpDrive", set the RS232 Control to 1 and press "set"
  • In the "NorhofPumpMonitor" window you should see that the flow has started
  • Once the temperature is stable at the target values, switch off the N2. The fan stays ON

  • At the end of the irradiation, switch off the Norhof. In "NorhofPumpDrive", set the RS232 Control to 0 and press "set". Leave the fan ON and start again the N2.
  • When the temperature is at the target value, switch off the fan and the Norhof (switch on right box), and the N2
Arduino system to monitor temperature and humidity

  • This runs on a separate PC, not the one where the LabVIEW? project runs
  • Start "gobetwino". The numbers for the temperature and humidity sensor should start to be dislayed and updated
  • Open Livegraph.20.beta01.Complete. A few windows pop up
  • Go to the directory indicated in the window "Data file settings (LiveGraph? )". Make a copy of the file called "LogArduino.txt" and rename it with the current date and time. Then delete the content of the file "LogArduino.txt" and save the empty file. Now the plot will show only the new data
  • In total there are 3 temperature sensors and 2 humidity sensors, called t1, t1a, t2, and h1 and h2. t1 is connected to the NTC used for the ABC130 single chip irradiations. All other irradiations have only t1a and t2 to measure the temperature
  • The NTC is powered via the power supply installed in the vault. The other sensors can be powered via this supply of via a battery. There is a switch on top of the cold box to select which supply is used. If you are not running an ABC130 irradiation, then use the battery to power the temperature sensors
  • If not all temperature and humidity measurements are shown in the plot, go to the window called "Data series settings (LiveGraph)" and select the number below the corresponding name (i.e. below t1, t1a, t2, h1, h2)

Dosimetry with Ni foils

  • The spectrum of the nickel foil is measured using the "Maestro" program
  • The two peaks at 511keV and 1377keV are measured
  • The measured activity can be fed into the spreadsheet to calculate the fluence: new_Ni_May16-lg.xlsx
  • The weight of the nickel foils can be found here: Ni-foils-L-weight.pdf, Ni-foils-K-weight.pdf
Sample removal and storage

Shipment of samples

  • Ask David Clifford to check that the sample is safe to be shipped as non-radioactive
  • Samples should be shipped cold, in a polystyrene box with ice blocks. These can be found in PB8
  • The shipment type should selected to arrive at destination within one day to avoid warming up of the samples
  • Do not ship samples on Friday, as they will arrive at destination on Saturday and will not be picked up by Monday. By then all the ice will have melt and they will be at room temperature!
  • Please use the following instructions to create the shipment: within the EU Shipment instructions, outisde the EU Shipment instructions outside the EU
  • Once the shipment is ready it can be left at stores for collection, or brought to post room so they can check that everything is OK

Useful documents and links

-- LauraGonella - 26 Apr 2016

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
jpgjpg ASIC-3DprintedFrame.jpg manage 164.7 K 22 Jul 2016 - 14:42 LauraGonella  
jpgJPG ASIC-AlFrame-GafchrFilm.JPG manage 207.0 K 22 Jul 2016 - 14:43 LauraGonella  
jpgjpg Bare-Sensors-1.jpg manage 223.7 K 22 Jul 2016 - 14:43 LauraGonella  
jpgjpg Bare-Sensors-2.jpg manage 203.7 K 22 Jul 2016 - 14:44 LauraGonella  
elsexlsx Fluence-TID-May16-lg.xlsx manage 45.9 K 20 May 2016 - 12:17 LauraGonella  
pdfpdf Ni-foils-K-weight.pdf manage 30.0 K 07 Apr 2016 - 15:54 LauraGonella  
pdfpdf Ni-foils-L-weight.pdf manage 46.2 K 07 Apr 2016 - 15:54 LauraGonella  
pdfpdf RadResultsNew.pdf manage 3758.4 K 15 May 2016 - 17:04 LauraGonella  
pdfpdf Scanning_notes.pdf manage 269.6 K 07 Apr 2016 - 14:49 LauraGonella  
pdfpdf TID_at_cyclotron.pdf manage 110.9 K 05 May 2016 - 12:06 LauraGonella  
elsewebarchive X4R1150_x4.zvd.dat.webarchive manage 48.2 K 13 May 2016 - 17:08 LauraGonella  
pdfpdf X4Servlet_Select.pdf manage 157.9 K 13 May 2016 - 17:07 LauraGonella  
pdfpdf humidity_tests.pdf manage 523.9 K 05 May 2016 - 12:06 LauraGonella  
elsexlsx new_Ni_11l_1318_17Feb2016.xlsx manage 15.2 K 20 May 2016 - 12:18 LauraGonella  
pdfpdf safetytraining2017laura2.pdf manage 2444.9 K 20 Oct 2017 - 14:52 LauraGonella  
Topic revision: r30 - 20 Oct 2017 - 14:56:53 - LauraGonella
BILPA.BhamIrrad moved from ATLAS.BhamIrrad on 02 Aug 2017 - 13:49 by LauraGonella - put it back
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