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Apparatus and method for the simultaneous detection of neutrons and ionizing electromagnetic radiation

United States Patent

6,011,266
January 4, 2000
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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A sensor for simultaneously detecting neutrons and ionizing electromagnetic radiation comprising: a sensor for the detection of gamma radiation, the sensor defining a sensing head; the sensor further defining an output end in communication with the sensing head; and an exterior neutron-sensitive material configured to form around the sensing head; wherein the neutron-sensitive material, subsequent to the capture of the neutron, fissions into an alpha-particle and a .sup.7 Li ion that is in a first excited state in a majority of the fissions, the first excited state decaying via the emission of a single gamma ray at 478 keV which can in turn be detected by the sensing head; and wherein the sensing head can also detect the ionizing electromagnetic radiation from an incident radiation field without significant interference from the neutron-sensitive material. A method for simultaneously detecting neutrons and ionizing electromagnetic radiation comprising the steps of: providing a gamma ray sensitive detector comprising a sensing head and an output end; conforming an exterior neutron-sensitive material configured to form around the sensing head of the detector; capturing neutrons by the sensing head causing the neutron-sensitive material to fission into an alpha-particle and a .sup.7 Li ion that is in a first excited state in a majority of the fissions, the state decaying via the emission of a single gamma ray at 478 keV; sensing gamma rays entering the detector through the neutron-sensitive material; and producing an output through a readout device coupled to the output end; wherein the detector provides an output which is proportional to the energy of the absorbed ionizing electromagnetic radiation.
Bell; Zane W. (Oak Ridge, TN)
Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation (Oak Ridge, TN)
09/ 060,900
April 15, 1998
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention pursuant to contracts numbers DE-AC05-960R22464 and DE-AC05-84OR21400, between the United States Department of Energy and Lockheed Martin Energy Services, Incorporated.