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Title: Review of current neutron detection systems for emergency response

Neutron detectors are utilized in a myriad of applications—from safeguarding special nuclear materials (SNM) to determining lattice spacing in soft materials. The transformational changes taking place in neutron detection and imaging techniques in the last few years are largely being driven by the global shortage of helium-3 ( 3He). This article reviews the status of neutron sensors used specifically for SNM detection in radiological emergency response. These neutron detectors must be highly efficient, be rugged, have fast electronics to measure neutron multiplicity, and be capable of measuring direction of the neutron sources and possibly image them with high spatial resolution. Neutron detection is an indirect physical process: neutrons react with nuclei in materials to initiate the release of one or more charged particles that produce electric signals that can be processed by the detection system. Therefore, neutron detection requires conversion materials as active elements of the detection system; these materials may include boron-10 ( 10B), lithium-6 ( 6Li), and gadollinium-157 ( 157Gd), to name a few, but the number of materials available for neutron detection is limited. However, in recent years, pulse-shape-discriminating plastic scintillators, scintillators made of helium-4 ( 4He) under high pressure, pillar and trench semiconductor diodes, and exoticmore » semiconductor neutron detectors made from uranium oxide and other materials have widely expanded the parameter space in neutron detection methodology. In this article we will pay special attention to semiconductor-based neutron sensors. Finally, modern microfabricated nanotubes covered inside with neutron converter materials and with very high aspect ratios for better charge transport will be discussed.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. National Security Technologies, LLC. (NSTec), AAFB, MD (United States). Remote Sensing Laboratory - Andrews Operation
  2. National Security Technologies, LLC. (NSTec), North Las Vegas, NV (United States). Remote Sensing Laboratory - Nellis Operations
  3. National Security Technologies, LLC. (NSTec), Los Alamos, NM (United States). Los Alamos Operations
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0277-786X
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9213; Conference: Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics XVI, San Diego, CA (United States), 17 Aug 2014; Journal ID: ISSN 0277-786X
Research Org:
National Security Technologies, LLC. (NSTec), Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Emergency Operations (NA-40)
Country of Publication:
United States
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; neutron detection; neutron imaging; semiconductor neutron detectors; nanotubes; special nuclear materials; neutron converter
OSTI Identifier: