Real-Time Portable Neutron Spectroscopy

Award Information
Department of Defense
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
1777 Highland Drive, Suite B, Ann Arbor, MI, 48108
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Dominique Fourguette
Chief Technology Officer
(734) 975-8777
Business Contact:
Pete Tchoryk
Chief Executive Officer
(734) 975-8777
Research Institution:
OBJECTIVE: Development of a deployable neutron spectrometer for the prompt identification of materials by exploiting both spontaneous and stimulated neutron emissions. DESCRIPTION: The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) seeks the means for extending the identification of materials to neutron spectroscopy for field applications. This solicitation seeks innovative approaches to achieve this capability in support of the DOD effort in countering terrorism, counter-proliferation and non-proliferation. Neutrons are notoriously difficult to shield and/or mask and could potentially serve as a preferred method to detect and identify fissile and special nuclear materials (SNM). However, neutron detection has traditionally been conducted using sensors which are of little benefit in an adverse environment being unwieldy, fragile, and providing little or no information about neutron energy. This solicitation will support the development of a portable neutron spectroscopy instrument capable of performing real time analysis of the data. The successful candidate sensor technology will be sufficiently rugged, lightweight and easy to use so that it may be operated effectively in typical DoD mission environments. The minimum energy resolution of this instrument will allow discrimination between neutrons emitted from fissile and other man-made radiological materials and neutrons to include background neutrons from cosmogenic sources. The time resolution shall also allow for a clear discrimination of prompt and delayed neutrons from nuclei undergoing fission. PHASE I: Develop the conceptual design of a neutron sensor that: o Can perform neutron spectroscopy with the energy resolution necessary to discriminate between fissile and other neutron emitting materials o Can perform clear time discrimination between prompt and delayed neutrons. o Weighs no more than 30 lbs o Can be battery operated for up to 8 hours Perform laboratory testing of any critical items. PHASE II: Manufacture a prototype device which can be evaluated in a laboratory environment. Compare the performance of the neutron spectrometer against existing standards. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: While the DoD requirement for field ruggedness and adverse operating environments is unique, neutron spectroscopy is relevant to both medical and industrial applications. Examples of medical applications of neutron spectrometers are, when used in conjunction with a neutron source, uses in study of soft material containing water and fast neutron therapy. Commercial applications include neutron radiography of structures. REFERENCES: 1. Ambrosi, R.M., Watterson, J.I.W., et al. Characterisation of a large flat panel amorphous silicon detector for fast neutron and x-ray radiography, Presented at the Fifth Position Sensitive Detector Conference, PSD5, University College, London, 13-17 September 1999 2. Eberhardt, J.E., Rainey, S., Stevens, R.J., Sowerby, B.D., Tickner, J.R., Applied Radiation and Isotopes, Aug 2005 3. Kawabata, Y., Hino, M., Nakano, T., Sunohara, H., Matsushima, U., Geltenbort, P., Nuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research, A, Apr 2005 4. Knoll, Glenn F. Radiation Detection and Measurement. 3rd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000. 5. Lindsay, J.T., Jones, J.D., Caveman, C.W., Real-Time Neutron Radiography and Its Application to the Study of Internal Combustion Engines and Fluid Flow, World Conference, June 1986. 6. Neutron Detection and Radiography Using Microsphere Plates, Isotopes and Radiation: Nuclear Analytical Techniques. Transactions of the American Nuclear Society 2001. 7. Overley, J.C. Element sensitive computed tomography with fast neutrons, Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography, vol. 7, no. 1, 1983, pp. 117-125 8. Ryzhov, I.V., Tutin, G.A., Mitryukhin, A.G., Soloviev, S.M., Blomgren, J., Renberg,P.-U., Meulders, J.-P., Masri, Y. El, Keutgen, Th., Preels, R., Nolte, R., Measurement of neutron-induced fission cross sections of 205Tl, 204;206;207;207Pb and 209Bi with a multi-section Frisch-gridded ionization chamber, accepted for publication in Nucl. Instr. Meth. 9. Von der Hardt, Peter and Rttger, Hans (editors) Neutron Radiography Handbook: An up-to-date Reference on Euratom's Radiography Working Group, Springer, 1989

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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