Low Dark Current Portable Neutron Detector

Award Information
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Branch: N/A
Contract: HSHQDC-12-C-00021
Agency Tracking Number: SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-001-FP-015
Amount: $369,465.70
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: DNDO 11.1-001
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
15 Presidential Way, Woburn, MA, -
DUNS: 004841644
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Geoffrey Burnham
Business Contact
 Amanda Contardo
Email: acontardo@agiltron.com
Research Institution
A Neutron detection device is an indispensable tool for power, medical, defense, and homeland security applications. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons is a serious threat in today’s world. Low cost, low power, high performance, rugged and portable neutron detection devices are highly desirable for these applications. Yet, the cost and production volume of the traditional He-3 tube based neutron detector are greatly limited by the availability of the He-3 rare gas. Agiltron proposes an unprecedented fabrication and integration approach to make a boron-10 filled micro-fabricated solid-state neutron detector, which, with performance readily able to replace the He-3 tubes, can be commercially manufactured at low cost for largescale deployment. Our success in Phase I demonstrated the feasibility of key fabrication steps and provided a rationale for carrying out the detector prototype development in Phase II, which will further lead to the large-scale manufacture of these next generation neutron detectors. Anticipated Benefits and Potential Commercial Applications Although the initial driving force of developing this detector is for nuclear material detection, the proposed approach will provide high performance, low cost, low power, rugged and portable neutron detectors which are equally suitable to a myriad of commercial applications. The commercial requirements of low power consumption and long time operation for tracking and monitoring of goods transported globally will be met by the proposed devices. The proposed detectors will also meet efficiency and sensitivity goals and will be able to be used for real time monitoring of background neutron flux. The small size also allows them to be embedded in cell phones for widely distributed detection networks. Passenger and cargo planes, trailers and rail cars can also be readily monitored with the proposed detectors. In addition, our detector, which will be orders of magnitude smaller and much more robust than the existing He-3 detectors, will find additional commercial applications, such as in DOE nuclear power generators and in medical facilities that employ neutron radiation therapy.

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

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