An instrument that will directly image the fast fission neutrons from a special nuclear material source wherein the neutron detection efficiency is increased has been described. Instead of the previous technique that uses a time-of-flight (TOF) between 2 widely spaced fixed planes of neutron detectors to measure scatter neutron kinetic energy, we now use the recoil proton energy deposited in the second of the 2 scatter planes which can now be repositioned either much closer together or further apart. However, by doubling the separation distance between the 2 planes from 20 cm to a distance of 40 cm we improved the angular resolution of the detector from about 12.degree. to about 10.degree.. A further doubling of the separation distance to 80 cm provided an addition improvement in angular resolution of the detector to about 6.degree. without adding additional detectors or ancillary electronics. The distance between planes also may be dynamically changed using a suitable common technique such as a gear- or motor-drive to toggle between the various positions. The angular resolution of this new configuration, therefore, is increased at the expanse of detection sensitivity. However, the diminished sensitivity may be acceptable for those applications where the detector is able to interrogate a particular site for an extended period.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
The United States Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation.