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Birmingham Irradiations

Radiation safety

Slides from training on 20 October 2017: safetytraining2017laura2.pdf

MC 40 local rules: local_rules_2016rev4.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 is ON adn the motors and LabVIEW? software are off, restart the PC before switching on the motors and the LabVIEW?
  • If a problem arises contact Laura or Tony
  • 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
  • With the new system, the fan now needs to be manually plugged in. There is a white plug that needs to be plugged into the white extension, that are both hanging from above the Norhof. The fan should come on straight away.
  • The Norhof also needs to be switched on via the plug on the wall. It is the switch on the right side of the right plug. The Norhof will beep several times to let you know that it is on.

Start-up procedure

  • Switch ON right box, a green LED will light up when it is on
  • Wait 5-10 seconds
  • Switch ON left box, a green LED will light up when it is on
  • On the right box there is a second switch (just behind the one you pressed before). This needs to be switched on, and a blue LED will light up.
  • 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 " 20181018_Full_System_Upgrade_08_PLB_Ben "
  • Right click on the controller (i.e. NI_cRI09022-015E9E20) and press "Connect"
  • Expand the controller
  • Expand " PLB New Pillar "
  • Open " 20181018_Initialisation_PLB_00 ", you will know if it is the right VI if both the home and reference buttons are already greyed out.
  • Press run (i.e. the arrow on the left)
  • The program will now only let you press one button at a time, to avoid any bugs from occuring. This program will allow you to put the box into park followed by home; once it is in home, the program will stop. You can leave the box in park (after pressing the reference button) before homing, but the program will never stop this way. However, this is a useful feature to access the box to mount/remove the sample, or check the beam current in-between scans. If you need to solely park the box, read the "At the end of the irradiation" section.
  • With the box at home, 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 " 20181016_New Scan Parameters_PLB_03_B "
  • Press run
  • Feed in the required values (current, increment, velocity, height and length of the sample area to be irradiated).
  • For the offsets, you need to measure the distance between the right side of the beam spot and the left side of the sample for the x offset, and between the bottom of the beam spot and the top of the sample for the y offset. You must then subtract the x offset value from the x home coordinate, and add the y offset value to the y home coordinate and input these into the x and y controls (below the graph), and then press the Overwrite init pos? button, which should turn green. You can 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 Update button. This will also stop the VI
  • Look at the graph to check you have set up the right scan path.
  • Open " 20181016_NewScanPath_PLB_05 ". This VI controls the scan having read in parameters from the previous VI
  • 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 sample in the box and input the correct number of runs in the program
  • Click the tick symbol (on upper bar) to properly input the value
  • Ask the operator to reset the number of counts at the faraday cup
  • Press run (arrow on upper bar) and press the close button (on the window that appears) at the same time as the operator switches the beam on (use a countdown to make sure you both press at the same time)
  • If you want to have an estimate of the time needed for a scanning irradiation you can use this spreadsheet:Scanning-Irrad-Time-Calc-Jan-18.xlsx

  • With the new system, you can now stop the scan midway, if needed (the beam disappears, the box robot isn't woking properly, etc.)
  • On the " 20181016_NewScanPath_PLB_05 " VI, press the stop button. The box will not stop immediately, but instead travel to the end of the row that it was just scanning, and then stop
  • Once it has stopped, you will need to reference (park) the box so that the system knows where the box is. You can either do this through " 20181018_Initialisation_PLB_00 " or " 20181016_Referencing_Only_PLB_00 "
  • If the box does not move, you will need to go through the procedure of switching the boxes off and then back on again.
Irradiation in point-to-point mode

  • To calculate the time of the irradiation to get to the target fluence use the spreadsheet Fluence-TID-Jan-18-lg.xlsx
  • You need to add 20% more time to account for beam inhomogeneity
  • For a point to point irradiation, your set up is the same as scanning, up to and including connecting to the controller (NI....)
  • From there you will need to expand New Manual
  • Open " "
  • Insert the home coordinates as the first location
  • Run the program to put the box at home
  • Ping the veam to get the beam spot at the home location on the gafchromic film
  • You will then need to meausre the x and y offsets between the home location and the sample to be irradiated. Whilst doing this, remember to measure to and from the same spot on the beam (i.e. measure from the right side of the beam to where you want the right side of the beam to be on the sample)
  • You must then add/subtract the measurement to the home coordinates. For the x offset you must subtract the x offset from the home x coordinate, and for the y offset you must add the y offset to the home y coordinate
  • Click the tick symbol (on upper bar) to properly input the values
  • To test that these locations are correct, you can use the gafchromic film and ping the beam at each location
  • When moving to the next location, you will need to press next x location and next y location buttons in turn. You must wait for the box to stop moving before you press the next button
At the end of the irradiation (after warming up the sample)

  • Once you have finished your irradiation, you should park the box. You cannot use the Initialisation VI to do this; you must use " 20181016_Referencing_Only_PLB_00 "
  • Run this program
  • Press Start Referencing
  • This VI will stop by itself, but it takes a few seconds after the box has stopped moving.
  • Once you have parked the box and the VI has stopped, you can now close all the VIs that you opened
  • You must then disconnect by right clicking the controller again (NI....)
  • 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
  • Remember to unplug the fan and switch off the Norhof when it is safe to enter the area!!!

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 around 10-15%) 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

  • Start "gobetwino" (link on desktop). The numbers for the temperature and humidity sensor should start to be dislayed and updated
  • Open Livegraph.20.beta01.Complete (link on desktop). A few windows pop up. You can minimize all but the one showing the graph
  • Go to the folder called "TempHum". 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 Livegrpah 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. The value shown need to be divided by 100.
  • 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

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 History Action Size Date Who Comment
Jpgjpg ASIC-3DprintedFrame.jpg r1 manage 164.7 K 22 Jul 2016 - 14:42 UnknownUser  
Jpgjpg ASIC-AlFrame-GafchrFilm.JPG r1 manage 207.0 K 22 Jul 2016 - 14:43 UnknownUser  
Jpgjpg Bare-Sensors-1.jpg r1 manage 223.7 K 22 Jul 2016 - 14:43 UnknownUser  
Jpgjpg Bare-Sensors-2.jpg r1 manage 203.7 K 22 Jul 2016 - 14:44 UnknownUser  
Xlsxxlsx Fluence-TID-Jan-18-lg.xlsx r1 manage 45.7 K 31 Jan 2018 - 17:49 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf Ni-foils-K-weight.pdf r1 manage 30.0 K 07 Apr 2016 - 15:54 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf Ni-foils-L-weight.pdf r1 manage 46.2 K 07 Apr 2016 - 15:54 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf Ni-folis-Z-weight.pdf r1 manage 67.8 K 07 Jun 2018 - 13:48 UnknownUser  
Odsods Ni_11_ErrorPropagation.ods r1 manage 19.3 K 01 Dec 2017 - 13:33 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf Ni_foils_K_17-32_weight.pdf r1 manage 112.7 K 07 Jun 2018 - 14:41 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf RadResultsNew.pdf r1 manage 3758.4 K 15 May 2016 - 17:04 UnknownUser  
Xlsxxlsx Scanning-Irrad-Time-Calc-Jan-18.xlsx r1 manage 13.2 K 31 Jan 2018 - 17:51 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf Scanning_notes.pdf r1 manage 269.6 K 07 Apr 2016 - 14:49 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf TID_at_cyclotron.pdf r1 manage 110.9 K 05 May 2016 - 12:06 UnknownUser  
Webarchivewebarchive X4R1150_x4.zvd.dat.webarchive r1 manage 48.2 K 13 May 2016 - 17:08 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf X4Servlet_Select.pdf r1 manage 157.9 K 13 May 2016 - 17:07 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf humidity_tests.pdf r1 manage 523.9 K 05 May 2016 - 12:06 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf local_rules_2016rev4.pdf r1 manage 150.5 K 22 Feb 2018 - 16:14 UnknownUser  
Xlsxxlsx new_Ni_11l_1318_17Feb2016.xlsx r6 r5 r4 r3 r2 manage 15.2 K 20 May 2016 - 12:18 UnknownUser  
Pdfpdf safetytraining2017laura2.pdf r1 manage 2444.9 K 20 Oct 2017 - 14:52 UnknownUser  
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