27 September 2011 Prompt neutron multiplicity measurements with portable detectors
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Abstract
Mobile detection of kilogram quantities of special nuclear materials (SNM) during maritime transportation is a challenging problem for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Counting neutrons emitted by the SNM and partitioning them from background neutrons of multiple origins is the most effective passive means of detecting the SNM. Unfortunately, neutron detection, counting, and partitioning in a maritime environment is complex due to the presence of spallation neutrons (commonly known as "ship effect") and to the complicated nature of the neutron scattering in that environment. This work studied the possibilities of building a prototype neutron detector using boron- 10 (10B) as the converter in a novel form factor called "straws" that would address the above problem by examining multiplicity distributions of neutrons originating from a fissioning source. Currently, commercially manufactured fission meters (FM) are available that separate cosmic neutrons from non-cosmic neutrons and quantitatively determine the strength of a fissioning source; however, these FMs use 3He, which is becoming increasingly difficult to procure; also the size and weight of a commercial FM is not conducive to manual neutron detection operations in a maritime environment. The current project may provide a near-term solution to the crisis that has arisen from the global scarcity of 3He by offering a viable alternative to the FM. The prototype detector provides a large-area, efficient, lightweight, more granular neutron responsive detection surface (to facilitate imaging) to ease the application of the new FMs.
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Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay, Ronald Wolff, Richard Maurer, Stephen Mitchell, Ethan X. Smith, Paul Guss, Jeffrey L. Lacy, L. Sun, A. Athanasiades, "Prompt neutron multiplicity measurements with portable detectors", Proc. SPIE 8142, Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics XIII, 81420T (27 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.888656; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.888656
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