A device for detecting neutrons includes a semi-insulated bulk semiconductor substrate having opposed polished surfaces. A blocking Schottky contact comprised of a series of metals such as Ti, Pt, Au, Ge, Pd, and Ni is formed on a first polished surface of the semiconductor substrate, while a low resistivity ("ohmic") contact comprised of metals such as Au, Ge, and Ni is formed on a second, opposed polished surface of the substrate. In one embodiment, n-type low resistivity pinout contacts comprised of an Au/Ge based eutectic alloy or multi-layered Pd/Ge/Ti/Au are also formed on the opposed polished surfaces and in contact with the Schottky and ohmic contacts. Disposed on the Schottky contact is a neutron reactive film, or coating, for detecting neutrons. The coating is comprised of a hydrogen rich polymer, such as a polyolefin or paraffin; lithium or lithium fluoride; or a heavy metal fissionable material. By varying the coating thickness and electrical settings, neutrons at specific energies can be detected. The coated neutron detector is capable of performing real-time neutron radiography in high gamma fields, digital fast neutron radiography, fissile material identification, and basic neutron detection particularly in high radiation fields.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC02-98CH10913 between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the University of Chicago representing Argonne National Laboratory.