Sturbridge, MA, United States
Sturbridge, MA, United States

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Patent
Nova Scientific, Inc. | Date: 2016-03-28

A method for detecting a neutron includes providing a first voltage to an input electrode of a microchannel plate, providing a second voltage to an output electrode of the microchannel plate, the second voltage being more positive than the first voltage, measuring a signal on the output electrode, and detecting a neutron based on a comparison of the signal at the output electrode with a baseline value.


Patent
Nova Scientific, Inc. | Date: 2014-10-22

A neutron detector includes a microchannel plate having a structure that defines a plurality of microchannels, and layers of materials disposed on walls of the microchannels. The layers include a layer of neutron sensitive material, a layer of semiconducting material, and a layer of electron emissive material. For example, the layer of neutron sensitive material can include at least one of hafnium (Hf), samarium (Sm), erbium (Er), neodymium (Nd), tantalum (Ta), lutetium (Lu), europium (Eu), dysposium (Dy), or thulium (Tm).


Patent
Nova Scientific, Inc. | Date: 2013-03-15

A method for detecting a neutron includes providing a first voltage to an input electrode of a microchannel plate, providing a second voltage to an output electrode of the microchannel plate, the second voltage being more positive than the first voltage, measuring a signal on the output electrode, and detecting a neutron based on a comparison of the signal at the output electrode with a baseline value.


Patent
Nova Scientific, Inc. | Date: 2013-08-12

A neutron detector includes a microchannel plate having a structure that defines a plurality of microchannels, and layers of materials disposed on walls of the microchannels. The layers include a layer of neutron sensitive material, a layer of semiconducting material, and a layer of electron emissive material. For example, the layer of neutron sensitive material can include boron-10, lithium-6, or gadolinium.


Patent
Nova Scientific, Inc. | Date: 2014-08-01

A neutron detector includes a microchannel plate having a structure that defines a plurality of microchannels, and layers of materials disposed on walls of the microchannels. The layers include a layer of neutron sensitive material, a layer of semiconducting material, and a layer of electron emissive material. For example, the layer of neutron sensitive material can include boron-10, lithium-6, or gadolinium.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 923.36K | Year: 2014

The project is developing a new sensor technology that can measure carbon dioxide levels with precision that matches or exceeds the state-of-the-art performance, but will reduce the price dramatically, and will for the first time enable instruments deployed in remote locations to operate unattended for long periods of time. A laboratory prototype was designed, constructed, and demonstrated. It exceeded the performance objectives for Phase 1 by a wide margin and clearly proved the feasibility of the proposed approach. In the first year, engineering prototypes will be constructed to address remaining design questions and verify robustness for unattended operation; the capability to measure water vapor concentration in air will also be added so the instrument can report the dry mole fraction of carbon dioxide in air (the amount of carbon dioxide per amount of dry air). In the second year, manufacturing prototypes will be constructed to validate manufacturing approaches suitable for high-volume, low-cost production and to enable testing under extreme environmental conditions. Commercial Applications and OtherBenefits: Government and university scientists will deploy the proposed analyzers in distributed networks to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at local, regional, and global scales. These instruments will benefit the public by collecting the information needed to formulate policies that efficiently mitigate the impacts of climate change while minimizing the cost to society.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2014

NOVA Scientific proposes the development of efficient position sensitive detectors capable of time-tagging epithermal energy neutrons with high accuracy and efficiency. These devices will be able to perform energy-resolved imaging at the pulsed neutron sources and detect every neutron with spatial resolution of & lt; 60 m and timing resolution & lt; 1 s for thermal neutrons and & lt;100 ns for epithermal neutrons. The pulsed structure of neutron beam enables measurement of neutron energy through the time of flight technique. The unique capability to measure energy of each detected neutron provides the ability to conduct experiments with all the energies at the same time, including epithermal, thermal and cold neutron ranges. Simultaneous detection of multiple Bragg edges, for example, enable studies in crystallographic structure, strain, phase, texture, and composition distribution. The proposed detection technology will be complimentary to the large array detectors implemented currently at the neutron scattering facilities. The epithermal detector is based on the novel neutron sensitive Microchannel Plates developed by NOVA Scientific combined with the fast and high resolution readout electronics developed by the University of California. With advanced electronics and software, the Timepix readout can detect time of arrival of up to 25,000 particles in 1 ms within a 28 x 28 mm2 active area, very short readout time of 280 s, along with low readout noise. Phase I assessed and down selected the options to modify the MicroChannel Plate to achieve a high cross-section to epithermal neutrons. The program demonstrated resonance absorption imaging of differing materials, imaging of fuel pellets, 2-D imaging of steel welds, and strain mapping at differing loads, remote temperature measurements, and others. Phase II will fully establish the epithermal-sensitive Microchannel Plates and further modify the electronics, firmware and data acquisition software. The integrated detector will be evaluated at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge and the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center. The detector will be utilized in further addressing pulsed beam line applications with major emphasis on the epithermal energy range.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2012

NOVA Scientific, Inc., teamed with the Detector Group of the ORNL Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, proposes to construct very large area Microchannel Plate neutron detectors. Larger format (20 cm square) tileable detectors will serve an exceptionally broad range of government agencies from neutron scattering detectors for DOE to nuclear material panel detectors for NNSA. The collaboration benefits from NOVAs knowledge and development of neutron-sensitive MicroChannel Plate (MCP) detectors and the Oak Ridge electronics groups detector expertise in high event rate and low noise detectors. The proposed program represents a remarkable step forward in neutron detection.Past neutron detectors have been constructed using 3He gas tubes, which offer both high thermal neutron detection efficiency as well as excellent discrimination between neutrons and interfering gamma rays. However, the sources of 3He gas are being quickly expended, severely constraining a variety of neutron detection applications such as scientific instrumentation, forcing end-users to seek alternative detection methods. NOVA has developed small, neutron-sensitized, solid-state MCP detectors that exhibit neutron detection efficiencies and gamma rejection levels approaching that of the conventional 3He gas tubes. This program will construct much larger MCP modules (400 cm2) and even larger arrayed systems, utilizing the novel Oak Ridge readout technology. The product developed will be a large area neutron imaging detector with spatial resolutions & lt; 1 mm, good timing resolution, low noise, high flux capabilities, and excellent detection capabilities for cold and thermal neutrons with archival data for centroid averaging. Phase I work successfully integrated the neutron-sensitive MCPs fitment with the large area electronic readout and demonstrated the functionality of the combination with neutrons without issues. Phase II will further develop the highest neutron efficiency MCPs available and assemble the hardware suitable for demonstration of high spatial resolution with time tagging and high flux capabilities. Prototype modules will be arrayed into larger panel detectors. New neutron scattering facilities, located at the High Flux Isotope Reactor and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, provide much higher flux than existing sources, translating into much higher detector flux requirements. Such instrumentation will require better position resolution and rate capability than available with existing technologies, along with the continuing requirements of gamma rejection and stability. These characteristics of this large detector will be a critical step in development of a solid-state converter to replace 3He detectors. NOVA has provided a significant number of state- of-the-art neutron imaging detectors at national laboratories and leading universities within the USA. This program will leapfrog current neutron detector performance and will serve to maintain US leadership in materials research and neutron technology.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2013

A number of unique non-destructive testing techniques and fundamental research studies are enabled by the modern bright pulsed neutron sources. In addition to all the methods previously developed at continuous neutron sources the pulsed structure of neutron beam enables a number of novel methods with the measurement of neutron energy through the time of flight technique. Despite the fact that the integral intensity of pulsed neutron sources in general is lower than that of the reactor based facilities, the unique capability to measure energy of each detected neutron provides the possibility to conduct experiments with all the energies at the same time, including epithermal, thermal and cold neutron ranges. Simultaneous detection of multiple Bragg edges, for example, enable unique studies in material science and engineering and provides the possibility to investigate crystallographic structure, strain, phase, texture and composition distribution. The challenge to the detection devices in those applications is the need to detect multiple particles arriving at a short period of time. We propose the development of efficient position sensitive detectors capable of time- tagging multiple neutrons with high accuracy and efficiency. These devices will be able to perform energy-resolved imaging at the pulsed neutron sources and detect every neutron with spatial resolution of & lt; 60 m and timing resolution & lt; 1 s for thermal neutrons and & lt;100 ns for epithermal neutrons and detection efficiency of 70 % for cold neutrons. The proposed detection technology will be complimentary to the large array detectors implemented currently at the neutron scattering facilities and will enable energy-resolved neutron transmission radiography where a large number of Bragg edge and resonance absorption spectra for different areas of the sample can be measured simultaneously. The detection devices will be based on the novel neutron sensitive Microchannel Plates (MCPs), developed by NOVA Scientific combined with the fast and high resolution readout electronics developed by the University of California. Our previous effort on the development of detection technology for neutron radiography enabled the possibility to count neutrons with high detection efficiency and spatial and timing resolution. The proposed detector technology will be optimized for the pulsed neutron applications with the aim of simultaneous detection of neutron energies available at the neutron beamlines with very high spatial and energy resolution and high detection efficiency. The unique capability of Timepix readout with UC Berkeley electronics to detect time of arrival of up to 25,000 particles in 1 ms within a 28 x 28 mm2 active area, very short readout time of 280 s, along with low readout noise will enable development of advanced detectors for the pulsed neutron applications in materials research, nuclear engineering, archeological studies, investigation of dynamic processes and many other areas of modern science.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 543.00K | Year: 2016

NOVA Scientific, Inc. proposes a Phase IIB SBIR program to further develop, refine, and commercialize a compact solid-state epithermal neutron imaging detector based on microchannel plates (MCPs), having (1) high detection efficiency well into the epithermal neutron energy range, and (2) the flexibility of having an externally-mounted pixelated electronic readout mated directly onto a hermetically-sealed MCP neutron detector ‘tube’. As a result of these developments, these devices will be able to perform energy-resolved neutron detection and imaging at pulsed neutron sources, detecting individual neutrons with a spatial resolution of 25-50 μm and with ultrafast timing resolution of ~100 ns for epithermal neutrons. The pulsed structure of the new and more powerful neutron beams coming online enables measurement of neutron energies through the time-of-flight (TOF) method. The unique capability of MCP detectors to measure the energy of each detected neutron provides a capability to conduct experiments across a very broad neutron energy range simultaneously – encompassing epithermal, thermal down to cold neutron energies. Simultaneous detection of multiple Bragg edges, for example, can enable highly useful measurements in crystallographic structure, strain, phase, texture, and compositional distribution. The proposed enhancements in MCP epithermal neutron response resulting from this program, combined with a separate DOE STTR Phase IIB for NOVA to commercialize larger area (>100 cm2) vacuum-sealed and tileable square format cold and thermal neutron-sensitive MCP imaging detectors, could complement or potentially even replace the large array detectors currently implemented at large neutron scattering facilities. Work at Argonne National Laboratory’s Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) group, guided by NOVA, has continued its excellent progress in the Phase II program, enhancing the sensitivity of NOVA”s MCP cold and thermal neutron detectors well into the epithermal neutron energy range. Using atomic layer deposition (ALD), we continue to refine the application of submicron oxide films of Hafnium, Tantalum, and Samarium along the inner microchannel walls of the detector. In Phase IIB, we will conduct additional neutron testing and full characterization of ongoing improvements to the MCP detectors, working with the neutron facilities (SNS/HFIR) and staff of the Detector Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Moreover, our recent marketing studies suggest that successful commercialization of epithermal neutron-sensitive MCP detectors will require that we provide a ‘user-friendly, turnkey’detector system. Our newly developed epithermal MCPs will be sealed into an image tube, which will have the unique feature of having an externally mounted imaging readout capable of ultrafast event time-tagging – thus dispensing with cumbersome and unwieldy vacuum equipment for active pumping of the detector and readout. Finally, we include in the Phase IIB a new task not previously proposed in Phase II, enabled by the energy range enhancement of NOVA’s MCP-based neutron imaging detectors. We will assess the integration into a ‘benchtop’ system, of NOVA’s epithermal imaging detector with highly intense compact and portable neutron generators, which have recently advanced in capability. If successfully developed and refined, this integration could finally make available true portable neutron imaging and radiography for non-destructive evaluation (NDE).

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