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Neutron Detection Technique Using Layered Semiconductors

IB-2424

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Radiation detection
  • Defense, homeland security, energy, and space exploration

ADVANTAGES:

  • High efficiency
  • Portability
  • Room temperature operation
  • Can use a variety of composite materials
  • Easily adapted to established semiconductor manufacturing techniques

ABSTRACT:

Dale L. Perry and Samuel Mao of Berkeley Lab have developed a high efficiency neutron detection device. The invention’s solid-state architecture is adaptable to a large variety of composite materials and can be manufactured into a convenient portable device more compact than gas-filled detectors. The new detector can operate at room temperature instead of the low temperatures required by other neutron detectors.  Further, it is potentially capable of achieving higher energy resolution and sensitivity than other room temperature detectors currently available.

The new detectors integrate one or more relatively thin films incorporating a neutron-sensitive element, such as gadolinium, boron, or lithium, with semiconductor detectors. The neutron-sensitive element may be elemental, alloys, or made of other materials. The neutron absorption layers capture neutrons, and the semiconductor detector layers capture the electrons and holes produced by the secondary high-energy particles generated from neutron interaction.

The stacked multilayer diode design allows for use of a wide variety of materials. The electrodes can be made of conventional metallic materials such as copper or chromium, and the semiconductor detector layers can be made of silicon, germanium, or gallium arsenide. For all possible forms, the design is easily adapted to well-established semiconductor manufacturing techniques.

STATUS: U. S. Patent 8,604,441 issued. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

To learn more about licensing a technology from LBNL see http://www.lbl.gov/Tech-Transfer/licensing/index.html.

REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2424

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