The development of high-efficiency solid state thermal neutron detectors at low cost is critical for a wide range of civilian and defense applications. The use of present neutron detector system for personal radiation detection is limited by the cost, size, weight and power requirements. Chip scale solid state neutron detectors based on silicon technology would provide significant benefits in terms of cost, volume, and allow for wafer level integration with charge preamplifiers and readout electronics. In this paper, anisotropic wet etching of (110) silicon wafers was used to replace deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) to produce microstructured neutron detectors with lower cost and compatibility with mass production. Deep trenches were etched by 30 wt% KOH at 85°C with a highest etch ratio of (110) to (111). A trench-microstructure thermal neutron detector described by the aforementioned processes was fabricated and characterized. The detector—which has a continuous p+-n junction diode—was filled with enriched boron (99% of 10B) as a neutron converter material. The device showed a leakage current of ~ 6.7 × 10-6 A/cm2 at -1V and thermal neutron detection efficiency of ~16.3%. The detector uses custom built charge pre-amplifier, a shaping amplifier, and an analogto- digital converter (ADC) for data acquisition.
Considerable progress has been achieved recently to enhance the thermal neutron detection efficiency of solid-state neutron detectors that incorporate neutron sensitive materials such as 10B and 6LiF in Si micro-structured p-n junction diode. Here, we describe the design, fabrication process optimization and characterization of an enriched boron filled honeycomb structured neutron detector with a continuous p+-n junction. Boron deposition and diffusion processes were carried out using a low pressure chemical vapor deposition to study the effect of diffusion temperature on current density-voltage characteristics of p+-n diodes. TSUPREM-4 was used to simulate the thickness and surface doping concentration of p+-Si layers. MEDICI was used to simulate the depletion width and the capacitance of the microstructured devices with continuous p+-n junction. Finally, current density-voltage and pulse height distribution of fabricated devices with 2.5×2.5 mm2 size were studied. A very low leakage current density of ~2×10-8 A/cm2 at -1 V (for both planar and honeycomb structured devices) and a bias-independent thermal neutron detection efficiency of ~26% under zero bias voltage were achieved for an enriched boron filled honeycomb structured neutron detector with a continuous p+-n junction.