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Neutron Detection Using an Embedded Sol-Gel Neutron Absorber

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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PDF Document Publication11-G00253_ID0361_final.pdf (528 KB)

Technology Marketing SummaryORNL researchers invented a method for neutron detection that can play an important role in international safeguards and U.S. security. The technology, based on sol-gel chemistry, uses metallic oxides embedded in a glass film that fission when bombarded with neutrons, producing a signature event in the film. Using ultraviolet light, fission products of the metallic oxides and electron emissions can be quickly detected.DescriptionThe invention features a transparent neutron-detecting sol-gel media. The sol-gel is flexibly coated onto rigid elements such as flat quartz plates or glass lenses. The detector is comprised of a microchannel plate, channeltrons, a photomultiplier, or a silicon detector that allows for very rapid, high-rate registering of activity in the sol-gel. When a pulsed neutron source containing deuterium or a combination of deuterium and tritium is applied, an array of detectors can then identify the emitted fissile material.Benefits•An adaptable fission signature that can be read in several ways
•Sol-gel process allows a variety of fissionable metallic oxides to be embedded
Applications and Industries•Monitoring areas where plutonium and other fissile materials are being stored
•Enforcement of international safeguards
•Monitoring shipments and ensuring national security
More InformationJohn M. Hiller, Steven A. Wallace, and Sheng Dai, Neutron Detector Using Sol-Gel Absorber, U.S. Patent 5,973,328, issued October 26, 1997.Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 5,973,328
Neutron detector using sol-gel absorber
An neutron detector composed of fissionable material having ions of lithium, uranium, thorium, plutonium, or neptunium, contained within a glass film fabricated using a sol-gel method combined with a particle detector is disclosed. When the glass film is bombarded with neutrons, the fissionable material emits fission particles and electrons. Prompt emitting activated elements yielding a high energy electron contained within a sol-gel glass film in combination with a particle detector is also disclosed. The emissions resulting from neutron bombardment can then be detected using standard UV and particle detection methods well known in the art, such as microchannel plates, channeltrons, and silicon avalanche photodiodes.
Y-12 National Security Complex 10/26/1999
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 199700361DevelopmentAvailable11/21/201110/27/2011

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