According to Kodak airplane travel destroys your digital camera

Started Jul 2, 2011 | Discussions thread
theswede Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
Re: In perspective ...

Ed Herdman wrote:

Well, I watched that whole presentation. On the whole, it was either inaccurate or misleading, and often both.


The bit about gamma rays is very complicated, however.

Not all that complicated.

Alpha particles - In 1978 Intel solved a problem with its new RAMs by purifying the DIP packaging material (the black box of a chip) to stop alpha particles from randomly (but rarely) changing the states of information on those chips.

Alpha particles are stopped by a sheet of paper. What Intel did was remove alpha particle emitters from the resin. Alpha particles from surrounding atmosphere can't affect chips encased in resin. They can't get through. And they certainly can't get at a sensor in a camera, unless the camera is stored with the sensor exposed to alpha emitting material.

This is, you will note, extremely different from decommissioning those chips wholesale! On the other hand you have the proven ability of gamma rays to damage computer circuitry - such as those generated by electromagnetic pulses (the dreaded EMP).

EMP is not created by gamma rays, and does not create gamma rays. A nuclear device will generate both an EMP and gamma rays, but they are not directly connected. A non-nuclear EMP generator will cause no measurable gamma ray emission. The damaging portion of the EMP is, as the name suggests, electromagnetic.

There is, to my knowledge, no proven ability of gamma rays to damage computer circuitry at levels which will let a human survive for over a week. The main consideration is contamination, not gamma ray induced failure.

I think what it comes down to is the evidence. Where are all these CMOS and CCD sensors falling down dead, digital crowfeet turned up to the cruel, cruel skies with their UV / gamma radiation?

This is what I wonder as well. If cameras are so sensitive that less than an order of magnitude increased gamma ray exposure will fry the sensors, the sensors would be dying at faster than one tenth that rate on ground level as well. And there is no explanation of the mechanism involved, or pictures of what happened, or anything at all except some FUD.

I think the good people at DALSA had a merry time pulling this guy's leg, though I think most of what has happened here is that he has taken various short briefings and spun them up and ended up embellishing them so that they hardly resemble the facts anymore.

The Dunning-Kruger effect will do that a lot.


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