Since 1995, TRIUMF has built up several beamlines that provide low-intensity, energetic proton and neutron beams to simulate radiation exposures either in space or terrestrial environments. Even at low intensity, several minutes of exposure in these beams can simulate years of operation in space, air, or ground, effectively allowing users to perform accelerated testing of electronics components in the radiation conditions present in those environments.
TRIUMF's proton- and neutron irradiation facilities (PIF & NIF) have since become recognized as premier test sites for space-radiation effects using protons and, with the capability of using these protons to produce a neutron-energy spectrum similar to that found at aircraft altitudes and at ground level, testing with neutrons is also possible.
<image: PIF & NIF use beams of protons and neutrons to allow users to quickly simulate weeks, months, or years in specific radiation environments>
A large fraction of the proton irradiation facility users are Canadian space-related companies such as MDA Corporation, while neutron use is primarily by international companies for avionics, microelectronics and communications equipment, such as The Boeing Company or Cisco Systems, Inc.
Each year about 100 users from about 30 companies, laboratories or universities test electronics or materials with the TRIUMF beams. Commercial users are charged an hourly rate for beam use for component testing and qualification while researchers are provided free access to PIF & NIF for studies of radiation effects when formally approved by the TRIUMF Experiment Evaluation Committee. In addition, one of the beamlines is used for the cancer treatment of ocular melanoma at the Proton Therapy Centre which is operated in conjunction with the BC Cancer Agency and the UBC Department of Ophthalmology to treat on average 10 patients per year.
<image: the Proton Therapy Centre uses a stepped-down, lower-energy beam of protons from the main 520MeV cyclotron to treat ocular melanomas>
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