5 September 2014 Semiconductor neutron detectors using depleted uranium oxide
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Abstract
This paper reports on recent attempts to develop and test a new type of solid-state neutron detector fabricated from uranium compounds. It has been known for many years that uranium oxide (UO2), triuranium octoxide (U3O8) and other uranium compounds exhibit semiconducting characteristics with a broad range of electrical properties. We seek to exploit these characteristics to make a direct-conversion semiconductor neutron detector. In such a device a neutron interacts with a uranium nucleus, inducing fission. The fission products deposit energy-producing, detectable electron-hole pairs. The high energy released in the fission reaction indicates that noise discrimination in such a device has the potential to be excellent. Schottky devices were fabricated using a chemical deposition coating technique to deposit UO2 layers a few microns thick on a sapphire substrate. Schottky devices have also been made using a single crystal from UO2 samples approximately 500 microns thick. Neutron sensitivity simulations have been performed using GEANT4. Neutron sensitivity for the Schottky devices was tested experimentally using a 252Cf source.
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Craig A. Kruschwitz, Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay, David Schwellenbach, Thomas Meek, Brandon Shaver, Taylor Cunningham, Jerrad Philip Auxier, "Semiconductor neutron detectors using depleted uranium oxide", Proc. SPIE 9213, Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics XVI, 92130C (5 September 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2063501; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2063501
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