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Boride-Rich Boron Material for Neutron Detection

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryIowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a material that can be used to detect nuclear substances. Description

Neutrons are produced by fission of nuclear materials or by naturally occurring radioactive decay.  Detection of neutrons, for example at transportation hubs, in shipping containers, or in luggage, may indicate the presence of smuggled nuclear material or even hidden nuclear weapons.  However, neutrons are difficult to detect because they lack a charge and conventional neutron detectors require large gas-filled chambers and high voltages.  Efforts to miniaturize neutron detectors through the development of new materials have suffered from drawbacks that include low sensitivity, susceptibility to radiation damage, and lattice strain.  To overcome these disadvantages, ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a boride-rich boron material that has utility for neutron detection.  This icosahedral boride semiconducting material has a higher volumetric density of boron atoms than other boride-based neutron detecting materials, can be made an n-type semiconducting material—enabling all boride n-p junctions—and is homogeneous.  In addition, the material can be applied as an amorphous material, with potentially better resistance to radiation damage, as well as a crystalline film.  Since the material can be manufactured using sputtering or pulsed laser deposition, it may thus enable the development of practical and inexpensive neutron detectors with potentially great value in homeland security, industrial safety, and other applications. 

 
Benefits
 
• Effective (the material shows relatively high carrier mobility, even in an amorphous form) 
• Flexible (can be applied as amorphous material or crystalline film)
• Safer and more environmentally friendly (can be produced using pulsed laser deposition which does not require the use of toxic gases needed for chemical vapor deposition or other production methods)
• Robust (the material shows less lattice strain for growth on silicon than other boron-based materials)

 

Applications and Industries
 
Neutron Sensing for Homeland Security and Other Applications
 
More Information
 
“Electrical Transport in Amorphous Semiconducting AlMgB14 Films”, Y. Tian, G. Li, J. Shinar, N.L. Wang, B.A. Cook, J.W. Anderegg, A. P. Constant, A.M. Russell, and J. E. Snyder, 2004, App. Phys. Lett. 85:1181-1183. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.1781738

“Electrical Transport in Amorphous Semiconducting AlMgB14 Films”, Y. Tian, G. Li, J. Shinar, N.L. Wang, B.A. Cook, J.W. Anderegg, A. P. Constant, A.M. Russell, and J. E. Snyder, 2004, App. Phys. Lett. 85:1181-1183.

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 7,375,343
Patent
7,375,343
A1MgB.sub.14 and related icosahedral boride semiconducting materials for neutron sensing applications
A neutron detecting and method of use for a semiconducting material having a formula of M1M2B.sub.14 where M1 is aluminum, magnesium, silver, sodium or scandium and M2 is boron, chromium, erbium, holmium, lithium, magnesium, thulium, titanium, yttrium, or gadolinium.
05/20/2008
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
3277PrototypeAvailable12/05/201712/05/2017

Contact AMES About This Technology

To: Jay Bjerke<licensing@iastate.edu>