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Lithiated Glass Scintillating-Particle Neutron Detector

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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PDF Document Publication11-G00209_ID1215.pdf (452 KB)

Technology Marketing SummaryA unique neutron detector developed at ORNL features a matrix material that uses scintillating particles, suspended in glass, to detect neutron radiation. The technology enables a wide variety of non-neutron scintillators to be used for neutron detection, with properties tooled for the specific type of detection required. This detector holds significant potential in future security monitoring, medical technology, and scientific research applications.DescriptionNeutrons travel through matter without ionizing, making neutron “events” difficult to detect using conventional methods. The ORNL invention uses a matrix material developed from glass that has been loaded with a high concentration of lithium-6, a neutron-absorbing material. A scintillating material in the form of micronsized particles is embedded in this matrix. These particles give off light when an electron, a proton, a triton, an alpha particle, or a fission fragment crosses their paths, indicating the presence of neutrons.

The configured detecting material is placed near at least one detector element sensitive to light, which produces an electrical signal when a neutron is absorbed. Multiple detector elements can rapidly accumulate data from a chamber. At least one detector element can also feature first and second arrays of optical fibers, spaced apart so that the optical pulses within the neutron-detecting material couple into at least one fiber. This positions the neutron absorption in an x-y plane.
Benefits•Allows materials previously unavailable for neutron detection to be used
•Expands the range of scintillating particles that can be used for detection (limited only by compatibility with current sol-gel methodology)
Applications and Industries•Two-dimensional position-sensitive neutron detection
•Neutron detection and counting in health physics and health industry applications
•Detection of fissile and fissionable material in security applications
More InformationInventor Point of Contact
Sheng Dai Chemical Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,582,880
Neutron detector using lithiated glass-scintillating particle composite
A neutron detector composed of a matrix of scintillating particles imbedded in a lithiated glass is disclosed. The neutron detector detects the neutrons by absorbing the neutron in the lithium-6 isotope which has been enriched from the natural isotopic ratio to a commercial ninety five percent. The utility of the detector is optimized by suitably selecting scintillating particle sizes in the range of the alpha and the triton. Nominal particle sizes are in the range of five to twenty five microns depending upon the specific scintillating particle selected.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 09/01/2009
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200201215PrototypeAvailable11/21/201110/18/2011

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To: Jennifer Tonzello Caldwell<>