Collaborative Research: ARI-MA: Very Large Area High Sensitivity Neutron Detection System

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

2. PROJECT SUMMARY 2.1 Intellectual Merits The overall technical goal of this program, to study the science and technology needed to develop very large area, rugged, high sensitivity, and low power, pixilated, thermal neutron detectors addresses categories 1 and 2 in the Program Description. Very large area detector systems, meters on a side, provide the large aperture needed to quickly scan large containers with high sensitivity. The final goal is to demonstrate a prototype device that incorporates all of the developed technologies. This project builds on our recent work where we demonstrated flexible active matrix backplane electronics and rudimentary amplifiers. There are three technology areas that will be addressed to meet the goals; 1) the neutron conversion layer, 2) the charged particle detection layer, and 3) the high sensitivity active matrix pixel electronics for low parasitic capacitance detection and signal amplification to allow large arrays. For each of the three technologies there are multiple approaches we will pursue to provide both performance and reliability. For the neutron conversion layer our first approach is to evaluate nanoparticles containing 10B and/or 6Li dispersed in a polymer-based matrix in contact with a thin-film sensor (converter-on-diode). Our longer term approach is to evaluate nanoparticles containing 10B and/or 6Li dispersed in a solution processable semiconductor diode (converter-indiode). For the charged particle detection system we will start by developing a fundamental understanding for the current generation and collection in thin-film semiconductor diodes induced by charged particles. To maximize sensitivity while maintaining selectivity we will develop high sensitivity pixel electronics, which will require very low noise amplifiers. We will evaluate new amplifier designs based on thin-film transistors. A significant goal of this project will be developing models to simulate device performance, as well as system performance to evaluate system sensitivity for different detection scenarios. 2.2 Broader Impact: Because of the quickly dwindling supply of 3He, even if current neutron detection technology were adequate, a new technology is needed. Our project will develop a novel thermal neutron detection system that will provide performance never seen before in nuclear threat detection. The overall concept is based on the idea that overall sensitivity scales with the area of the detector and that the overall selectivity vs. false positives scales with the ability to locate the source of the neutrons by pixelating the detector, increasing the signal-to-noise. Because the proposed technologies are compatible with flat panel display manufacturing technology, the detectors should be relatively inexpensive (LCDs cost $0.13 /cm2). Also, because all of the proposed processes are compatible with low temperature plastic substrates, ruggedness is inherent in the design, rather than an afterthought. A significant part of the program is the training of undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students that will learn about nuclear threat detection all the way from the fundamental interactions of neutrons and charged particles with matter to testing devices for sensitivity and radiation hardness, an opportunity available to few students anywhere. As part of the training we will develop a series of classes that can be taught at the senior undergraduate / graduate level, or as a short course for people working in nuclear detection. The individual components of the solid state neutron detector will be developed on 4 inch plastic substrates, but all of the processes will be compatible with the Gen- II fabrication facility at the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University, making it possible to deliver relatively large area (2 ft x 2 ft) detectors at the end of the project. These panels can easily be tiled into a large detection system. The collaborators on this project bring together the skill sets needed to carry out the project nuclear chemistry, radiation detection, thin film processing, and device and circuit design. Our team is extremely excited about the possibility of working on a project that could have an impact on national security, and train students in this important area. Key Words: Neutron detector, 10B, 6Li, 157Gd, large area, active matrix backplane

Description

The overall technical goal of this program, to study the science and technology needed to develop very large area, rugged, high sensitivity, and low power, pixilated, thermal neutron detectors addresses categories 1 and 2 in the Program Description. Very large area detector systems, meters on a side, provide the large aperture needed to quickly scan large containers with high sensitivity. The final goal is to demonstrate a prototype device that incorporates all of the developed technologies. This project builds on our recent work where we demonstrated flexible active matrix backplane electronics and rudimentary amplifiers. There are three technology areas that will be addressed to meet the goals; 1) the neutron conversion layer, 2) the charged particle detection layer, and 3) the high sensitivity active matrix pixel electronics for low parasitic capacitance detection and signal amplification to allow large arrays. For each of the three technologies there are multiple approaches we will pursue to provide both performance and reliability. For the neutron conversion layer our first approach is to evaluate nanoparticles containing 10B and/or 6Li dispersed in a polymer-based matrix in contact with a thin-film sensor (converter-on-diode). Our longer term approach is to evaluate nanoparticles containing 10B and/or 6Li dispersed in a solution processable semiconductor diode (converter-indiode). For the charged particle detection system we will start by developing a fundamental understanding for the current generation and collection in polycarbonate and P3HT organic diodes induced by charged particles. We will also determine the impact of doping the polycarbonate with a semiconductor. To maximize sensitivity while maintaining selectivity we will develop high sensitivity pixel electronics, which will require very low noise amplifiers. We will evaluate new amplifier designs based on thin-film transistors. A significant goal of this project will be developing models to simulate device performance, as well as system performance to evaluate system sensitivity for different detection scenarios.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date10/1/138/31/16

Funding

  • US Department of Homeland Security (DHS): $286,248.00

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