Electronic radon monitoring with the CMOS System-on-Chip AlphaRad

Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN, DSU-SERAC-LPMA), BP 68, 91192 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment (Impact Factor: 1.22). 01/2008; 584(2-3):412-417. DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2007.10.034


The development of the integrated circuit AlphaRad as a new System-on-Chip for detection of α-particles has already been reported. This paper deals with electronic monitoring of atmospheric radon, which is one of the promising applications of the chip. The future electronic radon monitor (ERM) is designed to be compact, inexpensive, operating at low voltage and fully stand-alone. We present here the complete electronic board of the future ERM: it is made of three independent AlphaRad chips running in parallel, mounted on a small printed-circuit board which includes a numeric block for data treatment based on a Xilinx programmable gate array. The maximal counting rate of the AlphaRad chip has been pushed to at least 3×106 α-particles cm−2. The complete system for detection of the solid aerosols will be published separately, and this paper will focus on the electronic board alone. Already 20 times faster than our first measurement with a CMOS pixel sensor, the system was tested at low and high activities, showing an excellent linearity for 222Rn levels up to 80 kBq m−3.

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