New Neutron Detectors with Pulse Shape Discrimination
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44 Hunt Street, Watertown, MA, 02472
AbstractProliferation of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons is a serious threat in the world today. Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons has reached a state of heightened urgency in recent years, especially since the events on September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. One way to passively determine the presence of nuclear weapons is to detect and identify characteristic signatures of highly enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium. Neutrons and gamma rays are two signatures of these materials. Gamma ray detection techniques are useful because the presence of gamma rays of specific energies can confirm the presence of a particular isotope. This technique, however, has one significant drawback: In the presence of dense surrounding material such as lead, gamma ray attenuation can be significant. Neutrons, on the other hand, easily penetrate dense, high atomic number materials compared to gamma rays. The goal of the proposed effort is to build next generation neutron detectors for SNM monitoring.
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