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Mukhopadhyay S.,Arnold Air force Base | Wolff R.,Arnold Air force Base | Meade J.,Arnold Air force Base | Detweiler R.,Arnold Air force Base | And 6 more authors.
Nuclear Technology | Year: 2015

Counting neutrons emitted by special nuclear material (SNM) and differentiating them from the background neutrons of various origins is the most effective passive means of detecting SNM. Unfortunately, neutron detection, counting, and partitioning in a maritime environment are complex due to the presence of high-multiplicity spallation neutrons (commonly known as "ship effect") and to the complicated nature of the neutron scattering in that environment. A prototype neutron detector was built using 10B as the converter in a special form factor called "straws" that would address the above problems by looking into the details of multiplicity distributions of neutrons originating from a fissioning source. This paper describes the straw neutron multiplicity counter (NMC) and assesses the performance with those of a commercially available fission meter. The prototype straw neutron detector provides a large-area, efficient, lightweight, more granular (than fission meter) neutron-responsive detection surface (to facilitate imaging) to enhance the ease of application of fission meters. Presented here are the results of preliminary investigations, modeling, and engineering considerations leading to the construction of this prototype. This design is capable of multiplicity and Feynman variance measurements. This prototype may lead to a near-term solution to the crisis that has arisen from the global scarcity of 3He by offering a viable alternative to fission meters. This paper describes the work performed during a 2-year site-directed research and development (SDRD) project that incorporated straw detectors for neutron multiplicity counting. The NMC is a two-panel detector system. We used 10B (in the form of enriched boron carbide: 10B4C) for neutron detection instead of 3He. In the first year, the project worked with a panel of straw neutron detectors, investigated its characteristics, and developed a data acquisition (DAQ) system to collect neutron multiplicity information from spontaneous fission sources using a single panel consisting of 60 straws equally distributed over three rows in high-density polyethylene moderator. In the following year, we developed the field-programmable gate array and associated DAQ software. This SDRD effort successfully produced a prototype NMC with ∼33% detection efficiency compared to a commercial fission meter.

Guss P.,Remote Sensing Laboratory Nellis | Foster M.E.,Sandia National Laboratories | Wong B.M.,Sandia National Laboratories | Patrick Doty F.,Sandia National Laboratories | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Applied Physics | Year: 2014

Despite the outstanding scintillation performance characteristics of cerium tribromide (CeBr3) and cerium-activated lanthanum tribromide, their commercial availability and application are limited due to the difficulties of growing large, crack-free single crystals from these fragile materials. This investigation employed aliovalent doping to increase crystal strength while maintaining the optical properties of the crystal. One divalent dopant (Ca 2+) was used as a dopant to strengthen CeBr3 without negatively impacting scintillation performance. Ingots containing nominal concentrations of 1.9% of the Ca2+ dopant were grown, i.e., 1.9% of the CeBr3 molecules were replaced by CaBr2 molecules, to match our target replacement of 1 out of 54 cerium atoms be replaced by a calcium atom. Precisely the mixture was composed of 2.26 g of CaBr2 added to 222.14 g of CeBr3. Preliminary scintillation measurements are presented for this aliovalently doped scintillator. Ca2+-doped CeBr3 exhibited little or no change in the peak fluorescence emission for 371 nm optical excitation for CeBr3. The structural, electronic, and optical properties of CeBr3 crystals were studied using the density functional theory within the generalized gradient approximation. Calculated lattice parameters are in agreement with the experimental data. The energy band structures and density of states were obtained. The optical properties of CeBr3, including the dielectric function, were calculated. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

Guss P.,Remote Sensing Laboratory Nellis | Mukhopadhyay S.,Remote Sensing Laboratory Andrews
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2013

Some applications, particularly in homeland security, require detection of both neutron and gamma radiation. Typically, this is accomplished with a combination of two detectors registering neutrons and gammas separately. We have investigated a new type of neutron/gamma (n/γ) directional detection capability. We explored a new class of scintillator, cerium (Ce)-doped Elpasolites such as Cs2LiYCl6:Ce (CLYC), Cs2LiLaCl6 (CLLC), Cs2LiLaBr6:Ce (CLLB), or Cs2LiYBr6:Ce (CLYB). These materials are capable of providing energy resolution as good as 2.9% at 662 keV (FWHM), which is better than that of NaI:Tl. Because they contain 6Li, Elpasolites can also detect thermal neutrons. In the energy spectra, the full energy thermal neutron peak appears near or above 3 GEEn MeV. Thus, very effective pulse height discrimination is possible. In addition, the core-to-valence luminescence (CVL) provides Elpasolites with different temporal responses under gamma and neutron excitation, and, therefore, may be exploited for effective pulse shape discrimination. For instance, the CLLC emission consists of two main components: (1) CVL spanning from 220 nm to 320 nm and (2) Ce emission found in the range of 350 to 500 nm. The former emission is of particular interest because it appears only under gamma excitation. It is also very fast, decaying with a 2 ns time constant. The n/γ discrimination capability of Elpasolite detectors may be optimized by tuning the cerium doping content for maximum effect on n/γ pulse shape differences. The resulting Elpasolite detectors have the ability to collect neutron and gamma data simultaneously, with excellent discrimination. Further, an array of four of these Elpasolites detectors will perform directional detection in both the neutron and gamma channels simultaneously. © 2013 SPIE.

Guss P.,Remote Sensing Laboratory Nellis | Guise R.,Remote Sensing Laboratory Nellis | Mukhopadhyay S.,Remote Sensing Laboratory Andrews | Yuan D.,NSTec
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2011

Nanocomposites may enable the use of scintillator materials such as cerium-doped lanthanum fluoride (LaF3:Ce) and cerium bromide (CeBr3) without requiring the growth of large crystals. Nanostructured detectors may allow us to engineer immensely sized detectors of flexible form factors that will have a broad energy range and an energy resolution sufficient to perform isotopic identification. Furthermore, nanocomposites are easy to prepare and very low in cost. It is much less costly to use nanocomposites rather than grow large whole crystals of scintillator materials; with nanocomposites fabricated on an industrial scale, costs are even less. Nanostructured radiation scintillator detectors may improve quantum efficiency and provide vastly improved detector form factors. Quantum efficiencies up to 60% have been seen in photoluminescence from silicon nanocrystals in a densely packed ensemble. We have fabricated nanoparticles with sizes <10 nm and characterized their nanocomposite radiation detector properties. This work investigates the properties of the nanostructured radiation scintillator in order to extend the gamma energy response on both low- and high-energy regimes by demonstrating the ability to detect low-energy x-rays and relatively high-energy activation prompt gamma rays simultaneously using nanostructured lanthanum bromide, lanthanum fluoride, or CeBr3. Preliminary results of this investigation are consistent with a significant response of these materials to nuclear radiation. © 2011 Copyright Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).

Reed A.L.,Remote Sensing Laboratory Nellis
Health Physics | Year: 2012

The Fukushima Daiichi response posed a plethora of scientific questions to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) radiological emergency response community. As concerns arose for decision makers, DOE leveraged a community of scientists well versed in the tenets of emergency situations to provide answers to time-sensitive questions from different parts of the world. A chronology of the scientific Q and A that occurred is presented along with descriptions of the challenges that were faced and how new methods were employed throughout the course of the response. Copyright © 2012 Health Physics Society.

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