Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) based microelectronics are playing an increasing role in spacecraft systems design. However, flight experience has shown that such devices are particularly susceptible to the deleterious effects of the severe ionising radiation environment encountered in Earth-orbit. The primary objective of this research programme is to investigate single-event-effect and total-ionising-dose phenomena as they occur in state-of-the-art COTS technologies flown on-board Surrey's spacecraft, and to evaluate mitigation and protection strategies.

To aid this process, simultaneous measurements of the ionising radiation environment experienced by these satellites are made through various ionising radiation monitoring instruments developed by the group, e.g. CEDEX – the cosmic-ray energy deposition experiment.

Current research is directed towards minimising the size of these instruments down to “credit-card” size so as to provide a means for routinely monitoring the radiation environment inside operational spacecraft. In related projects, work is progressing in analysing radiation effects in the advanced micro-electronic data handling systems and in studying the anisotropy in the proton flux in the South Atlantic anomaly.

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