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Title: Neutron and X-ray Detectors

Abstract

The Basic Energy Sciences (BES) X-ray and neutron user facilities attract more than 12,000 researchers each year to perform cutting-edge science at these state-of-the-art sources. While impressive breakthroughs in X-ray and neutron sources give us the powerful illumination needed to peer into the nano- to mesoscale world, a stumbling block continues to be the distinct lag in detector development, which is slowing progress toward data collection and analysis. Urgently needed detector improvements would reveal chemical composition and bonding in 3-D and in real time, allow researchers to watch “movies” of essential life processes as they happen, and make much more efficient use of every X-ray and neutron produced by the source The immense scientific potential that will come from better detectors has triggered worldwide activity in this area. Europe in particular has made impressive strides, outpacing the United States on several fronts. Maintaining a vital U.S. leadership in this key research endeavor will require targeted investments in detector R&D and infrastructure. To clarify the gap between detector development and source advances, and to identify opportunities to maximize the scientific impact of BES user facilities, a workshop on Neutron and X-ray Detectors was held August 1-3, 2012, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Participantsmore » from universities, national laboratories, and commercial organizations from the United States and around the globe participated in plenary sessions, breakout groups, and joint open-discussion summary sessions. Sources have become immensely more powerful and are now brighter (more particles focused onto the sample per second) and more precise (higher spatial, spectral, and temporal resolution). To fully utilize these source advances, detectors must become faster, more efficient, and more discriminating. In supporting the mission of today’s cutting-edge neutron and X-ray sources, the workshop identified six detector research challenges (and two computing hurdles that result from the corresponding increase in data volume) for the detector community to overcome in order to realize the full potential of BES neutron and X-ray facilities. Resolving these detector impediments will improve scientific productivity both by enabling new types of experiments, which will expand the scientific breadth at the X-ray and neutron facilities, and by potentially reducing the beam time required for a given experiment. These research priorities are summarized in the table below. Note that multiple, simultaneous detector improvements are often required to take full advantage of brighter sources. High-efficiency hard X-ray sensors: The fraction of incident particles that are actually detected defines detector efficiency. Silicon, the most common direct-detection X-ray sensor material, is (for typical sensor thicknesses) 100% efficient at 8 keV, 25%efficient at 20 keV, and only 3% efficient at 50 keV. Other materials are needed for hard X-rays. Replacement for 3He for neutron detectors: 3He has long been the neutron detection medium of choice because of its high cross section over a wide neutron energy range for the reaction 3He + n —> 3H + 1H + 0.764 MeV. 3He stockpiles are rapidly dwindling, and what is available can be had only at prohibitively high prices. Doped scintillators hold promise as ways to capture neutrons and convert them into light, although work is needed on brighter, more efficient scintillator solutions. Neutron detectors also require advances in speed and resolution. Fast-framing X-ray detectors: Today’s brighter X-ray sources make time-resolved studies possible. For example, hybrid X-ray pixel detectors, initially developed for particle physics, are becoming fairly mature X-ray detectors, with considerable development in Europe. To truly enable time-resolved studies, higher frame rates and dynamic range are required, and smaller pixel sizes are desirable. High-speed spectroscopic X-ray detectors: Improvements in the readout speed and energy resolution of X-ray detectors are essential to enable chemically sensitive microscopies. Advances would make it possible to take images with simultaneous spatial and chemical information. Very high-energy-resolution X-ray detectors: The energy resolution of semiconductor detectors, while suitable for a wide range of applications, is far less than what can be achieved with X-ray optics. A direct detector that could rival the energy resolution of optics could dramatically improve the efficiency of a multitude of experiments, as experiments are often repeated at a number of different energies. Very high-energy-resolution detectors could make these experiments parallel, rather than serial. Low-background, high-spatial-resolution neutron detectors: Low-background detectors would significantly improve experiments that probe excitations (phonons, spin excitations, rotation, and diffusion in polymers and molecular substances, etc.) in condensed matter. Improved spatial resolution would greatly benefit radiography, tomography, phase-contrast imaging, and holography. Improved acquisition and visualization tools: In the past, with the limited variety of slow detectors, it was straightforward to visualize data as it was being acquired (and adjust experimental conditions accordingly) to create a compact data set that the user could easily transport. As detector complexity and data rates explode, this becomes much more challenging. Three goals were identified as important for coping with the growing data volume from high-speed detectors: Facilitate better algorithm development. In particular, algorithms that can minimize the quantity of data stored. Improve community-driven mechanisms to reduce data protocols and enhance quantitative, interactive visualization tools. Develop and distribute community-developed, detector-specific simulation tools. Aim for parallelization to take advantage of high-performance analysis platforms. Improved analysis work flows: Standardize the format of metadata that accompanies detector data and describes the experimental setup and conditions. Develop a standardized user interface and software framework for analysis and data management. The diversity of detector improvements required is necessarily as broad as the range of scientific experimentation at BES facilities. This workshop identified a variety of avenues by which detector R&D can enable enhanced science at BES facilities. The Research Directions listed above will be addressed by focused R&D and detector engineering, both of which require specialized infrastructure and skills. While U.S. leadership in neutron and X-ray detectors lags behind other countries in several areas, significant talent exists across the complex. A forum of technical experts, facilities management, and BES could be a venue to provide further definition.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States)
  4. Dept. of Energy (DOE), Washington DC (United States). Office of Science Office of Basic Energy Sciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC) (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES)
OSTI Identifier:
1287494
Resource Type:
Program Document
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Citation Formats

Carini, Gabriella, Denes, Peter, Gruener, Sol, and Lessner, Elianne. Neutron and X-ray Detectors. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.2172/1287494.
Carini, Gabriella, Denes, Peter, Gruener, Sol, & Lessner, Elianne. Neutron and X-ray Detectors. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1287494
Carini, Gabriella, Denes, Peter, Gruener, Sol, and Lessner, Elianne. 2012. "Neutron and X-ray Detectors". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1287494. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1287494.
@article{osti_1287494,
title = {Neutron and X-ray Detectors},
author = {Carini, Gabriella and Denes, Peter and Gruener, Sol and Lessner, Elianne},
abstractNote = {The Basic Energy Sciences (BES) X-ray and neutron user facilities attract more than 12,000 researchers each year to perform cutting-edge science at these state-of-the-art sources. While impressive breakthroughs in X-ray and neutron sources give us the powerful illumination needed to peer into the nano- to mesoscale world, a stumbling block continues to be the distinct lag in detector development, which is slowing progress toward data collection and analysis. Urgently needed detector improvements would reveal chemical composition and bonding in 3-D and in real time, allow researchers to watch “movies” of essential life processes as they happen, and make much more efficient use of every X-ray and neutron produced by the source The immense scientific potential that will come from better detectors has triggered worldwide activity in this area. Europe in particular has made impressive strides, outpacing the United States on several fronts. Maintaining a vital U.S. leadership in this key research endeavor will require targeted investments in detector R&D and infrastructure. To clarify the gap between detector development and source advances, and to identify opportunities to maximize the scientific impact of BES user facilities, a workshop on Neutron and X-ray Detectors was held August 1-3, 2012, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Participants from universities, national laboratories, and commercial organizations from the United States and around the globe participated in plenary sessions, breakout groups, and joint open-discussion summary sessions. Sources have become immensely more powerful and are now brighter (more particles focused onto the sample per second) and more precise (higher spatial, spectral, and temporal resolution). To fully utilize these source advances, detectors must become faster, more efficient, and more discriminating. In supporting the mission of today’s cutting-edge neutron and X-ray sources, the workshop identified six detector research challenges (and two computing hurdles that result from the corresponding increase in data volume) for the detector community to overcome in order to realize the full potential of BES neutron and X-ray facilities. Resolving these detector impediments will improve scientific productivity both by enabling new types of experiments, which will expand the scientific breadth at the X-ray and neutron facilities, and by potentially reducing the beam time required for a given experiment. These research priorities are summarized in the table below. Note that multiple, simultaneous detector improvements are often required to take full advantage of brighter sources. High-efficiency hard X-ray sensors: The fraction of incident particles that are actually detected defines detector efficiency. Silicon, the most common direct-detection X-ray sensor material, is (for typical sensor thicknesses) 100% efficient at 8 keV, 25%efficient at 20 keV, and only 3% efficient at 50 keV. Other materials are needed for hard X-rays. Replacement for 3He for neutron detectors: 3He has long been the neutron detection medium of choice because of its high cross section over a wide neutron energy range for the reaction 3He + n —> 3H + 1H + 0.764 MeV. 3He stockpiles are rapidly dwindling, and what is available can be had only at prohibitively high prices. Doped scintillators hold promise as ways to capture neutrons and convert them into light, although work is needed on brighter, more efficient scintillator solutions. Neutron detectors also require advances in speed and resolution. Fast-framing X-ray detectors: Today’s brighter X-ray sources make time-resolved studies possible. For example, hybrid X-ray pixel detectors, initially developed for particle physics, are becoming fairly mature X-ray detectors, with considerable development in Europe. To truly enable time-resolved studies, higher frame rates and dynamic range are required, and smaller pixel sizes are desirable. High-speed spectroscopic X-ray detectors: Improvements in the readout speed and energy resolution of X-ray detectors are essential to enable chemically sensitive microscopies. Advances would make it possible to take images with simultaneous spatial and chemical information. Very high-energy-resolution X-ray detectors: The energy resolution of semiconductor detectors, while suitable for a wide range of applications, is far less than what can be achieved with X-ray optics. A direct detector that could rival the energy resolution of optics could dramatically improve the efficiency of a multitude of experiments, as experiments are often repeated at a number of different energies. Very high-energy-resolution detectors could make these experiments parallel, rather than serial. Low-background, high-spatial-resolution neutron detectors: Low-background detectors would significantly improve experiments that probe excitations (phonons, spin excitations, rotation, and diffusion in polymers and molecular substances, etc.) in condensed matter. Improved spatial resolution would greatly benefit radiography, tomography, phase-contrast imaging, and holography. Improved acquisition and visualization tools: In the past, with the limited variety of slow detectors, it was straightforward to visualize data as it was being acquired (and adjust experimental conditions accordingly) to create a compact data set that the user could easily transport. As detector complexity and data rates explode, this becomes much more challenging. Three goals were identified as important for coping with the growing data volume from high-speed detectors: Facilitate better algorithm development. In particular, algorithms that can minimize the quantity of data stored. Improve community-driven mechanisms to reduce data protocols and enhance quantitative, interactive visualization tools. Develop and distribute community-developed, detector-specific simulation tools. Aim for parallelization to take advantage of high-performance analysis platforms. Improved analysis work flows: Standardize the format of metadata that accompanies detector data and describes the experimental setup and conditions. Develop a standardized user interface and software framework for analysis and data management. The diversity of detector improvements required is necessarily as broad as the range of scientific experimentation at BES facilities. This workshop identified a variety of avenues by which detector R&D can enable enhanced science at BES facilities. The Research Directions listed above will be addressed by focused R&D and detector engineering, both of which require specialized infrastructure and skills. While U.S. leadership in neutron and X-ray detectors lags behind other countries in several areas, significant talent exists across the complex. A forum of technical experts, facilities management, and BES could be a venue to provide further definition.},
doi = {10.2172/1287494},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1287494}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {8}
}

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