Why would radiation damage electronics?

Radiation can be described as electromagnetic energy or moving particles that contact an object. The material in electronic devices is enhanced by electromagnetic radiation, such as gamma, UV and X-ray. This energy can accelerate the degrading of electronics components by moving electrons to higher energy orbits or simply causing the material molecules to split.

Particle radiation can interact with electronics components to cause molecular splitting or transfer enough kinetic energy to cause fragmentation. These radiations can render an electronic component ineffective.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a nuclear weapon is an electromagnetic wave which adds energy at high speeds to overload electronics and cause them to fail. That was one of the reasons why Russian interceptors/fighters used vacuum tubes instead of solid-state electronics before they improved shielding against EMPs.

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