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Wearable Radiation Sensors


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Materials TOPIC OBJECTIVE: The topic focuses on developing technology that will allow the radiation detection industry to develop and propose low-cost dose rate meters that is significantly smaller and better wearable than those based on current GM-tube. Smaller RADIACs (radiation detectors) will decrease the weight burden of equipment on its users, reducing fatigue and improving maneuverability. The impact of this topic will be lighter and smaller equipment that the wearer may carry. The scale has potential to be throughout the Army and other commercial platforms. TOPIC DESCRIPTION: The innovative approach of this topic is the focus on SWAP (size, weight, and power) in addition to performance. Since the 1920’s, Geiger-Muller tubes (GM tubes) have been the technology used in almost all military RADAICs. The current systems, UDR-13, UDR-14, and UDR-15, all use GM-tubes. While the GM tubes can offer the needed performance, they have major drawbacks that limit the reduction of SWAP. The GM tubes’ low sensitivity per volume and relatively high-power consumption will severely limit any SWAP reduction. If a new suitable technology is not matured and the JPD-S must use GM-tube technology, then the new JPD-S will be about the same size as the current 30-year-old UDR-13. Evolving ground-breaking technology such as solid-state gamma dose rate sensors offers the potential to greatly reduce the SWAP, with an overall objective of reducing SWAP by half. The potential end users of this technology may be the ground combat troops. Those RADIACs are deployed at one RADIAC per squad level (about 10 soldiers). The soldiers will rely on the JPD-S to provide accurate information about the radiation levels throughout the operational environment from response to disasters such as the Army’s response in Operation Tomodachi (the US support to Japan after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant accident) to operations on the nuclear battlefield. Soldiers rely on their RADIACs to provide accurate information about the radiation level to help minimize and document exposures. PHASE I:  Starting in FY23, Phase I would be multiple awards for 6-month efforts focused on scientific, technical, commercial merit and feasibility of proposed solutions. If a performer proposed an existing detector, then the performer would need to demonstrate a clear path for temperature range and nuclear survivability. If a performer proposed a new sensor material, then the performer would need to demonstrate that the new sensor material can accurately measure radiation. PHASE II: Starting in FY 24, Phase II would be at least two awards focused on development of the technology, integration into a detector, and testing. JPEO would consider the possibility of a Phase II enhancement depending on the progress made by the performers in Phase II. PHASE III and DUAL USE APPLICATIONS:  In FY27, JPEO plans to start the program of record. Based on previous successes, JPEO plans to the following path: • Issue an RFP (request for proposal) requiring extensive data showing that their proposed equipment meets the needs of the Army and is low risk at that point plus an operating prototype • Select 3 to 5 prototypes for testing • Based on test results, down select to one system • Complete development • Conduct Development and operational test • Develop logistic (manuals, repair process, etc.) • Procure and field   KEYWORDS: Radiation detectors; RADAIC; ground combat troops; dose rate meter; meter   REFERENCES:  Fabjan, C. W. and Schopper, H. (eds.) 2020, Particle Physics Reference Library, Volume 2: Detectors for Particles and Radiation Krutul, K, et. al., “Radiation Hardness Studies of PIN-Diode Detectors Irradiated with Heavy Ions”, Acta Physica Polonica B Proceedings Supplement, Vol. 13 (2020) Menichelli, M., et. al., “Hydrogenated amorphous silicon detectors for particle detection, beam flux monitoring and dosimetry in high-dose radiation environment”, arXiv:2002.10848 [physics.ins-det]
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