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TECH SPACE
New circuits work in high radiation levels
by Staff Writers
Salt Lake City (UPI) Jun 12, 2012


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

U.S. researchers say microscopic mechanical devices that withstand intense radiation and heat can be used in robots dealing with damaged nuclear power plants.

Such devices can withstand high amounts of radiation that can quickly fry silicon-based electronic circuits, University of Utah engineers reported Tuesday.

Such electronic circuits were in robots sent to help contain the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after Japan's catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami, they said.

"Robots were sent to control the troubled reactors, and they ceased to operate after a few hours because their electronics failed," Utah researcher Massood Tabib-Azar said.

Tabib-Azar and his colleagues have been working on mechanical substitutes for such electronics and showed their devices, known as micro-electro-mechanical systems, kept working despite intense ionizing radiation and heat by dipping them for two hours into the core of the University of Utah's research reactor.

"We have developed a unique technology that keeps on working in the presence of ionizing radiation to provide computation power for critical defense infrastructures," Tabib-Azar said. "Our devices also can be used in deep space applications in the presence of cosmic ionizing radiation, and can help robotics to control troubled nuclear reactors without degradation."

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Lawrence Livermore research identifies precise measurement of radiation damage
Livermore CA (SPX) Jun 11, 2012
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have for the first time simulated and quantified the early stages of radiation damage that will occur in a given material. "A full understanding of the early stages of the radiation damage process provides knowledge and tools to manipulate them to our advantage," said Alfredo Correa, a Lawrence Fellow from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory ... read more


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