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Neutron Scatter Camera for Radiaton Detection

Sandia National Laboratories

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PDF Document PublicationMarket Sheet (839 KB)

Technology Marketing SummarySandia’s neutron scatter camera is an innovative design which combines the benefits of gamma ray imaging with fast neutron imaging. The camera detects special nuclear material (SNM) and rejects backgrounds from naturally occurring radiation sources that can produce false alarms. Additionally, the camera can detect and localize neutrons at greater distances and through shielding since fast neutrons are more penetrating than gamma rays. One of the key advantages is higher signal to background over non imaging detectors.DescriptionSandia’s neutron camera design is sensitive, has good angular resolution, portable, and non hazardous. The design is scalable for shorter dwell times and longer stand-off detection.Benefits
  • Compact size, portable
  • Can filter out gamma background radiation “noise”
  • Combines gamma ray and neutron detection in one instrument
  • Good angular resolution- ~5 degrees achievable
  • Scalable design to tailor sensitivity to user needs
  • Can penetrate heavily shielded sources
Applications and Industries
  • Treaty verification & monitoring
  • Nuclear safeguards & nonproliferation
  • Homeland security
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,741,613
Neutron scatter camera
An instrument that will directly image the fast fission neutrons from a special nuclear material source has been described. This instrument can improve the signal to background compared to non imaging neutron detection techniques by a factor given by ratio of the angular resolution window to 4.pi.. In addition to being a neutron imager, this instrument will also be an excellent neutron spectrometer, and will be able to differentiate between different types of neutron sources (e.g. fission, alpha-n, cosmic ray, and D-D or D-T fusion). Moreover, the instrument is able to pinpoint the source location.
Sandia National Laboratories 06/22/2010
Patent 8,237,130
Neutron scatter camera for improved neutron detection
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 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 much closer together. Allowing the 2 planes to be placed closer together has been shown to provide up to about a .about.170% improvement in detection efficiency without adding additional detectors and 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 is diminished but this loss of resolution may be acceptable for those applications where only modest directionality is sufficient to identify a threat.
Sandia National Laboratories 08/07/2012
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
US Patent# 7,741,613Prototype - Sandia estimates the TRL at approximately 6.3. First generation and advanced prototypes have been successfully deployed and tested.Available - Various license and partnering options are available. Please contact the IP department to discuss.01/05/201103/12/2013

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