Fast-Timing Large-Area Detector for Neutron Scattering

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc.
44 Hunt Street, Watertown, MA, 02472-4699
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Vivek Nagarkar
(617) 668-6937
Business Contact:
Carmen Danforth
(617) 668-6801
Research Institution:

The two reflectometers at SNS serve rapidly growing communities in the fields of nanoscience, membrane bioscience, surfactant chemistry. Unique capabilities of these instruments include ultrahigh neutron intensity for in-plane diffraction and off-specular/grazing- incidence small-angle scattering measurements, and the combination of reflectometry and high- angle diffraction for resolving large-scale and nanoscopic structural/magnetic features under the same experimental conditions. While the data rates and the Q-range covered by these instruments at a single scattering angle are sufficiently high to permit real time kinetic studies on many systems, currently installed detectors do not meet the performance requirements for such studies. Thus, to meet the needs of these ever stringent scientific goals, a new class of detectors will need to be deployed for use in the reflectometers. To address this issue, we propose to develop a novel neutron detector that does not rely on the diminishing supply of 3He. The development at RMD of advanced neutron scintillators that demonstrate high absorption efficiency for neutrons and exhibit neutron/gamma discrimination by pulse shape (PSD) and pulse height (PHD), combined with recent advances in large-area picosecond timing resolution photodetectors, has now made it possible to develop advanced neutron detectors with the potential to realize a transformational impact on neutron detection and imaging. By combining these new technologies, we will develop a neutron detector that simultaneously provides nanosecond temporal resolution, high detection efficiency for thermal neutrons, tileable large area modules, and sub-millimeter spatial resolution while supporting necessary count rates available at the reflectometer instruments. Goal of the Phase I research is to demonstrate feasibility of the proposed detector. The novel scintillation materials will be fabricated in a special format and integrated into a unique readout sensor to realize a prototype detector. The detector will be tested at ORNL to demonstrate its efficacy for implementation into reflectometer instruments. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Large area neutron detectors with fast timing, high spatial resolution, and high efficiency for thermal neutrons are needed for numerous applications, ranging from non-destructive testing to baggage scanning at entry ports. In addition to safeguarding nuclear facilities, ensuring effective MC & amp;A in facilities, and allowing radiography/tomography in new approaches for spent- fuel storage and processing, improved scintillators and non-3He detectors are critically important to homeland security, nuclear and high-energy physics research, and the development of new sources to effectively address our nations future energy needs. The proposed detectors will also result in scientific research leading to the development of new drugs, materials, and systems that directly impact healthcare and quality of life.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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