Com­plex Ir­ra­di­a­tion Fa­cil­i­ty (CIF)

The Complex Irradiation Facility (CIF)
The Com­plex Ir­ra­di­a­tion Fa­cil­i­ty (CIF)
Image 1/2, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

The Complex Irradiation Facility (CIF)

The large-scale Com­plex Ir­ra­di­a­tion Fa­cil­i­ty (CIF), at the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR) of­fers a se­lec­tion and di­men­sion­ing of ra­di­a­tion sources, al­low­ing the con­di­tions of in­ter­plan­e­tary space to be sim­u­lat­ed as re­al­is­ti­cal­ly as pos­si­ble.
The accelerator's proton source
The ac­cel­er­a­tor's pro­ton source
Image 2/2, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

The accelerator's proton source

The large-scale Com­plex Ir­ra­di­a­tion Fa­cil­i­ty (CIF), at the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR) of­fers a se­lec­tion and di­men­sion­ing of ra­di­a­tion sources, al­low­ing the con­di­tions of in­ter­plan­e­tary space to be sim­u­lat­ed as re­al­is­ti­cal­ly as pos­si­ble.

The irradiation facility at the DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen has been developed to investigate material surface changes (degradation) in space conditions beyond near-Earth orbit. At the facility, a sample in an ultra-high vacuum (UHV) is irradiated either separately or simultaneously with electromagnetic radiation (simulated by three light sources) and with protons and electrons.

Simulation of radiation conditions in space

The large-scale Complex Irradiation Facility (CIF) at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) offers the selection and dimensioning of radiation sources, allowing the conditions of interplanetary space to be simulated as realistically as possible.

In particular, the energy and intensity range of the electron and proton accelerator was specifically designed to cover most of the corresponding parameters for solar wind. The quality of the vacuum is another important aspect, as the molecules of any residual gas can interact with the radiation and change the surface of the samples, thus impacting investigations. The facility has therefore been built without organic components (such as rubber seals and pump oils) and using UHV technology to prevent self-contamination.

The facility’s three light sources are an argon source for vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) light, a deuterium UV lamp and a xenon lamp as a solar simulator. Together, these sources cover a wavelength range from 40–2150 nanometres. The argon VUV source represents an internationally unique feature, as comparable systems are usually equipped with deuterium lamps that can only generate light above 110 nanometres.

The corpuscular radiation, electrons and protons, are generated in a low-energy range of 1–100 kiloelectronvolts, resulting in very low penetration depths into materials. The outcome is a change to the thermo-optical properties of material surfaces, which play a key role in the thermal design of satellite components and membrane design for solar sails. Separate and simultaneous irradiation using the individual sources enables an array of experimental scenarios, enabling potential effects to be pinpointed as comprehensively as possible.

Contact
  • Volker Speelmann
    Head of Cen­tral Ex­pen­di­ture Man­age­ment
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-4103
    Fax: +49 2203 601 4115
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
    Contact
  • Dr. Ing. Maciej Sznajder
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Space Sys­tems
    Me­chan­ics and Ther­mal Sys­tems
    Telephone: +49 421 24420 1623
    Robert-Hooke-Straße 7
    28359 Bremen
    Contact

Cookies help us to provide our services. By using our website you agree that we can use cookies. Read more about our Privacy Policy and visit the following link: Privacy Policy

Main menu