5 September 2014 Semiconductor neutron detectors using depleted uranium oxide
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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, Craig A. Kruschwitz, Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay, Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay, David Schwellenbach, David Schwellenbach, Thomas Meek, Thomas Meek, Brandon Shaver, Brandon Shaver, Taylor Cunningham, Taylor Cunningham, Jerrad Philip Auxier, 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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