An apparatus (200) for detecting slow or thermal neutrons (160) including an alpha particle-detecting layer (240) that is a hydrogenated amorphous silicon p-i-n diode structure. The apparatus includes a bottom metal contact (220) and a top metal contact (250) with the diode structure (240) positioned between the two contacts (220, 250) to facilitate detection of alpha particles (170). The apparatus (200) includes a neutron conversion layer (230) formed of a material containing boron-10 isotopes. The top contact (250) is pixilated with each contact pixel extending to or proximate to an edge of the apparatus to facilitate electrical contacting. The contact pixels have elongated bodies to allow them to extend across the apparatus surface (242) with each pixel having a small surface area to match capacitance based upon a current spike detecting circuit or amplifier connected to each pixel. The neutron conversion layer (860) may be deposited on the contact pixels (830) such as with use of inkjet printing of nanoparticle ink.
The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-08G028308 between the United States Department of Energy and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, the manager and operator of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.