New Scintillator for Neutron Detection

Award Information
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Branch: N/A
Contract: HSHQDC-11-C-00033
Agency Tracking Number: 1011012
Amount: $999,997.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: 10.1-2
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
44 Hunt Street, Watertown, MA, 02472-4699
DUNS: 073804411
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jaroslaw Glodo
Business Contact
 Nancy Marshall
Research Institution
Neutron detection is one of the methods used in revealing illicit nuclear materials. Currently, there is an ongoing search for new and better neutron detectors prompted by anticipated shortages of He-3 that is used in many of the current detection systems. This effort proposes and investigation and development of a new thermal neutron and gamma scintillator. The scintillator belongs to already proven elpasolite crystal family. The main advantages of this material are due to avoidance of Cl (parasitic neutron absorption) and La (introduces radioactive isotopes) ions in the composition. This leads to a scintillator that is more efficient for thermal neutron detection and has lower intrinsic background. The material already showed that it is capable of discrimination between neutrons and gammas, a feature required in detectors to replace He-3 tubes. In addition, like other elpasolite crystals, the material should also provide excellent gamma energy resolution. We expect it to be better than 4 percent at 662 keV, which is almost twice as good as 7 percent for NaI:Tl (the most popular gamma scintillator). Phase I of the project will investigate in detail the properties of this material and provide optimal configuration for obtaining pulse shape discrimination and energy resolution.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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