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Advanced Space Radiation Detectors

Developing compact radiation detectors to provide improved data on space radiation.

Miniaturizing Radiation Detector Technology

Prototype SiC Dosimeter
Prototype SiC Dosimeter with dose integrating electronics. Credit: NASA GRC.

NASA GRC is developing new radiation detectors based on wide band-gap semiconductors to meet the challenges of low-power, low-noise, multidirectional robust detectors for a wide range of particle mass and energies.

Potential technologies have been identified and demonstrated for lower power, more compact detector components. Integration of these detector technologies results in improved detector systems in comparison to existing state-of-the-art instruments for the detection and monitoring of the deep space radiation field.

The realization of these detectors leverages in-house GRC expertise and facilities in:

  1. Harsh environment thin films.
  2. Silicon carbide (SiC) devices and harsh environment packaging.
  3. Micro-optics technology.
  4. Structural radiation shielding materials.

As mission needs change, the detector technology integration can be adapted quickly for performance and optimal science benefit.


Wide Band Gap Radiation Detectors for Deep Space ScienceSiC Materials & Devices Workshop 2022, Brook Park, OHAugust 2022NTRS
Multidirectional Cosmic Ray Ion Detector for Deep Space CubeSats30th AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites (SmallSats), Logan, UtahAugust 2016NTRS
Compact Full-Field Ion Detector System for SmallSats beyond LEO2nd International Workshop on Instrumentation for Planetary Missions (IPM-2014), Greenbelt, MarylandNovember 2014NTRS
Compact Full-Field Ion Detector System for CubeSat Science beyond LEO3rd International Workshop on LunarCubes, Palo Alto, CaliforniaNovember 2013NTRSVideo
Advanced Space Radiation Detector Technology Development59th IIS, Cleveland, OhioMay 2013NTRS

Technology Portfolio

Compact Full-Field Ion Detector System Compact Full-Field Ion Detector System (CFIDS)

The Compact Full-Field Ion Detector System (CFIDS) is a radiation particle detection system to provide information on the kinetic energies, directions, and electric charges of subatomic particles.

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Low-Power Charged Particle Detector Low-Power Charged Particle Detector

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a miniature, solid-state radiation detector that can be used in situations where compact size, low weight, and low power consumption are required.

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Fast, Large Area, Wide Band Gap UV Photodetector Fast, Large Area, Wide Band Gap UV Photodetector

A solid-state device with the ability to detect small, fast pulses of the full range of ultraviolet light (UVA, UVB, and UVC) in two nanoseconds or less.

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Physical Sensors Instrumentation Research

John D. Wrbanek

Cross-Cutting Optics and Microphotonics Research

 Susan Y. Wrbanek

The NASA Glenn Research Center is interested in partnering with companies that can develop these technologies into commercial products. If you are interested in learning more about partnering with NASA, please contact the Technology Transfer & Partnership Office.


Multi-Aspect Cosmic Ray Ion Detectors for Deep-Space CubeSatsWrbanek, John D. and Wrbanek, Susan Y.H. Helvajian & S. W. Janson (Eds.) The Nanosatellite Revolution: 30 Years and Continuing (pp. 505-536)June 2023DOI
Space Radiation and Impact on Instrumentation Technologies.Wrbanek, John D. and Wrbanek, Susan Y.NASA/TP-2020-220002January 2020NTRS
Room Temperature Radiation Testing of a 500 °C Durable 4H-SiC JFET Integrated Circuit Technology.Lauenstein, Jean-Marie, Neudeck, Philip G., Ryder, Kaitlyn L., Wilcox, Edward P., Chen, Liangyu, Carts, Martin A., Wrbanek, Susan Y., Wrbanek, John D.IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference (NSREC) (San Antonio, TX.)July 8-12, 2019NTRS
Room Temperature Total-Ionizing Dose Testing of
Glenn Research Center (GRC) 500 °C Durable 4H-SiC
JFET IC Technology
Ryder, Kaitlyn, Lauenstein, Jean-Marie, Wilcox, Ted, Carts, Marty, Neudeck, Philip, Wrbanek, Susan, Buttler, Robert, Chen, Liangyu, Spina, DannyGSFC-E-DAA-TN69538July 24, 2018NTRS
Multidirectional Cosmic Ray Ion Detector for Deep Space CubeSats.Wrbanek, John D. and Wrbanek, Susan Y.AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, Advanced Technologies I, SSC16-IV-2August 6-11, 2016NTRS
Advanced Space Radiation Detector Technology Development.Wrbanek, John D., Wrbanek, Susan Y., Fralick, Gustave C.2013 Joint Conference/Symposium of the MFPT and ISA (Dayton, OH: MFPT), 457-469. NASA TM-2013-216516May 2013NTRS
Micro-fabricated Solid-State Radiation Detectors for Active Personal DosimetryWrbanek, John D., Wrbanek, Susan Y., Fralick, Gustave C. and Chen, Liang-YuNASA TM-2007-214674January 2007NTRS
Active Solid State Dosimetry for Lunar EVA.Wrbanek, John D., Fralick, Gustave C., Wrbanek, Susan Y. and Chen, Liang-YuSpace Resources Roundtable VII: LEAG Conference on Lunar Exploration, LPI Contribution No. 1287 (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston) p. 93.October 25–28, 2005NTRS
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