Very Low Cost Photomultiplier Chip for Disposable Gamma Spectrometer

Award Information
Department of Defense
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
4407 Elm Street, Suite 300, Chevy Chase, MD, 20824
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Eric Harmon
(508) 809-9052
Business Contact:
David Salzman
(301) 656-7600
Research Institution:
We seek proposals to develop, design and build inexpensive radiation detectors capable of crude gamma spectroscopy. Ideally these detectors will be simple and inexpensive enough to be deployed in large numbers and essentially disposable. DESCRIPTION: In DTRA's efforts to prevent the spread of Special Nuclear Material (SNM), gamma spectroscopy plays a key role in locating, identifying and imaging potential threats. Current research efforts are predominately aimed at materials having better energy resolution (e.g. CZT, LaBr3) or greater efficiency (e.g. BiI3) than currently deployed detectors as these parameters are generally perceived as having better capability. These new materials are very expensive to grow and are available in limited quantities. In our mission to interdict SNM, a potential strategy under consideration is to deploy many (sometimes up to thousands) small, unobtrusive detectors in remote areas such as smuggling routes where persistent surveillance would be difficult for personnel. Clearly, the deployment of expensive detectors would prove prohibitively costly in great quantities so DTRA is looking for proposals to make small, robust, inexpensive gamma spectrometers that would fit this need. In order to function to as a gamma spectrometer, photopeak efficiency would need to be moderately high in the energy range up to 1 MeV (for reference NaI(Tl) intrinsic efficiency is ~20% for a 1 cm thick sample). Cost and robustness are also key parameters as these detectors are expected to be essentially disposable and deployed in quantity by air, sea and ground vehicles. While not unimportant we would consider energy resolution secondary. Proposals are sought to provide a capability rather than any specific technique. Among the possible solutions are new materials, as are novel methods of growing existing materials and inexpensive electronic solutions that can increase the capability of existing materials. PHASE I: Determination of feasibility to perform as a radiation detector and perform gamma spectroscopy. PHASE II: Construction of a demonstration prototype. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Potential application of this technology include their use in the well-logging industry, medical imaging, and environmental monitoring. REFERENCES: 1. Knoll, G.F. "Radiation Detection and Measurement" 2nd edition (1988) 2. Tsoulfanidis, N. "Measurement and Detection of Radiation" 2nd edition (1995)

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