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High Energy High Flux X-ray Detector


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics, Materials/Processes, Sensors



The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: Determine the optimum design concept for a high energy, high flux detector for use with the High Energy Computed Tomography (HECT) that meets our mission goals of both inspection capability and system supportability. Trident II rocket motors are currently inspected using a HECT system to inspect for critical defects that affect motor safety and reliability. Objective is to develop the design concept into a usable x-ray detector for the use with the Varian-supplied K15 Linatron source. Access to a K15 will be made available at the Naval Air Warfare Center China Lake. This will include the x-ray detector, as well as all support electronics and necessary hardware to integrate it into the existing system. The intention is to develop a replacement for the detector, which is a subsystem of the HECT, which must work with the radiation source (The Varian K15).


DESCRIPTION: The current HECT system, used to inspect the D5 Trident II rocket motors, is an old design using outdated technology. As such, it has become expensive to maintain and support. The intention of this effort is to develop a new x-ray detector that is improved for performance (based on bit depth and resolution) and supportability (based on ability to procure and maintain hardware), using modern electronics, components, and interfaces. This is a difficult problem as the radiation environment is both high energy and high flux. Radiation hardening impacts detector performance. This program will develop a new detector with modern components and materials that has equal or improved performance and is more supportable for the inspection of these rocket motors.

One of the (non-Navy owned) HECT systems currently in use was updated in the early 1990s and resulted in large improvements in system performance and supportability. This demonstrates that system performance can be greatly improved in all aspects. However, the materials, technology, and design from that upgrade have been made obsolete by improvements in detector technology and electronics, which made huge leaps in capability in the 2000s. A research and development (R&D) effort is necessary to ensure that new detector technology can be modified and/or redesigned to be able to operate in our specific environment (specifically, radiation hardening).


PHASE I: Determine technical feasibility to develop a new High Energy High Flux X-ray Detector as discussed in the Description section. Develop conceptual design and select 2-3 of the most optimum detector design concepts. These concepts will be implemented in a detector that allows performance evaluation (in particular regarding resolution, bit depth, and detector life), with an understanding of the tradeoffs of performance specifications, reliability, and supportability. A technical report will be generated detailing results and tradeoffs between the designs.


PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype detector, usable with the K15 on D5 Defect Standards, along with a report containing a full evaluation of its actual performance and capability as used with the K15. Demonstration of improved resolution, bit depth, and detector life will prove out the design and allow progression to Phase III.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Based upon Phase I and II effort, fabricate full scale High Energy High Flux X-ray Detector Array and transition to Navy for use in inspecting D5 Trident II rocket motors in the HECT inspection system. Engage in broader commercialization efforts to field this x-ray detector suitable for use in the high energy environment. Possible customers include Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, large solid rocket motor industry suppliers, Department of Homeland Security, and other countries that use K15 Linatron x-ray sources to inspect rockets for their space program.


KEYWORDS: x-ray; high energy; high flux; detector; computed tomography; inspection 

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