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Coated semiconductor devices for neutron detection

United States Patent

November 12, 2002
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Argonne National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Development and Commercialization Website
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.
Klann; Raymond T. (Bolingbrook, IL), McGregor; Douglas S. (Whitmore Lake, MI)
The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy (Washington, DC)
09/ 717,033
November 22, 2000
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.