CHARM - Mixed fields

CHARM is a unique irradiation infrastructure at CERN, used for many years to test electronic equipment for CERN accelerators and available to users from the aerospace community.

CHARM provides a completely new approach to low-cost qualification against radiation. This facility can batch screen many components or boards in parallel, as well as test large systems, from a full rack to medium-sized satellites in full operating conditions. It was used to test the CELESTA CubeSat radiation model before its flight in space, the first ever system level test of a full satellite.

CHARM is an adaptable facility. It offers a high-penetrating radiation environment with maximum dose rates and fluxes adjustable using different configurations (target, shielding and location). Space applications can benefit from CHARM as the three main radiation effects of interest (single event effects, total ionising dose and displacement damage) can be tested in parallel. The generated radiation environment is also ideal for atmospheric neutron characterisation of avionic systems.

In 2018, a commercial agreement was established with ISIS (Innovative Solutions In Space) BV, a Dutch company specialised in nanosat solutions. In September 2018, ISIS experts came to CERN to test two CubeSat systems they already flew several times, allowing comparisons between ground testing and flight data. In the future, ISIS will offer its customers the possibility to carry out irradiation tests in CHARM. A test campaign to support the development of a radiation tolerant micro-camera for satellite applications was also performed in November 2018 in collaboration with MicroCameras & Space Exploration SA.

The possibility to perform high energy heavy ions tests in the CHARM facility in the future is currently under assessment.


Learn more about CERN ground facilities here.