Cobham RAD Solutions (formerly Aeroflex RAD), with a new base in Harwell, is the UK arm of the US radiation effects company Cobham RAD of Colorado Springs. Cobham RAD Solutions offers a radiation testing capability unmatched in the UK for assessing the effects of ionising radiation on materials and components for use in the challenging environment of space. The Company specialises in building a test and measurement system around a customer’s samples in order to derive data on their performance before, during and after exposure to radiation. This process provides the data needed to complete the design and qualify products for space.
Cobham operates its own gamma irradiation facility for total dose testing and undertakes frequent tests in other facilities, e.g. for single event effects testing and electron or neutron testing. Offering a data acquisition service, as well as basic irradiation, means Cobham can help customers understand the radiation-induced changes that take place. This knowledge can be used to assess equipment designs before testing so as to improve the chances of it passing the test. The synergistic effect of irradiation and other factors can lead to more rapid degradation than the sum of the individual effects would indicate. Hence, the Company also offers the possibility to irradiate in a range of gaseous environments and vacuum, with heating or cooling, with or without electrical stress and, for example with solar cells, under illumination.
Cobham believes that being able to offer a full radiation testing service that includes not simply the irradiation of samples, but also their instrumentation, monitoring of performance degradation and analysis and interpretation of results, fills an important gap in this aspect of component and sub-system performance in space. Cobham believes that its larger, high dose rate irradiation facility to be installed at Harwell in 2016 will provide an important capability and contribution to the proposed one-stop-shop in the Harwell Space Cluster.