The researchers explained that the International Space Station (ISS), like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, is a complex radiation environment that requires special dosimetry devices. Fiber optic technologies can provide both distributed and point measurements of radiation dose with high accuracy.
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesce activated the Lumina experiment on the ISS as part of the ALPHA mission. This project, coordinated by the French space agency CNES and with the participation of CERN, uses two optical fibers several kilometers long as active dosimeters to measure ionizing radiation on the ISS with very high sensitivity.
To prevent radiation-induced damage to electronics inside accelerators, CERN has been working with optical fiber radiation sensors for six years. Building on this experience, CERN contributed to Lumina by assisting in the theoretical analysis of the optimized dosimeter architecture and performing the low and high dose tests required to calibrate the instrument.
“The challenge for Lumina is to be sensitive enough to measure low changes in radiation intensity, given the shielding provided by the ISS shell. Calibration, carried out at CERN using a ground reference model, will allow us to post-process the measurements and get accurate results, ”said Florence Clement, project manager for the Lumina experiment at CNES / CADMOS.
“This joint experience in space is an important result of the framework agreement on cooperation between CERN and CNES several years ago, which focuses on radiation issues. To monitor radiation damage to electronics, CERN has developed instruments that can also be used on satellites, ”the researchers added.