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Low Power, High Energy Gamma Ray Detector Calibration Device

IB-2164

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Calibrating the energy output and efficiency of high resolution HPGe detectors used in environmental monitoring and physics research
  • Calibrating large gamma ray detectors being developed for homeland security cargo screening and neutrino detectors
  • Educating physicists and nuclear engineers

ADVANTAGES:

  • Produces gamma rays up to 10 MeV, higher than possible with radioactive sources
  • Gamma-ray spectrum can be tuned to suit the application
  • Inherently safe – does not need to be licensed by the NRC
  • Can be switched off when not in use
  • Reliable and fast
  • Low power – active cooling is unnecessary
  • Simple, portable design can be used in the field

ABSTRACT:

Jani Reijonen, Richard Firestone, and Frederic Gicquel of Berkeley Lab have invented a low power, high-energy gamma ray detector calibration device that produces much higher energy gamma rays (10 MeV) than are possible with radioactive sources.  The gamma ray spectrum can also be adjusted for various applications.  These gamma rays have been calibrated by the LBNL Isotopes Project in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency and formerly could only be produced at nuclear reactors.

The device is based on a low power neutron generator, which is inherently safe to operate.  Unlike radioactive calibration sources the instrument can be switched off ­– producing no radioactivity when not in use.  The simple, compact design allows the calibrator to be used in the field and laboratories of almost any size as well as for calibrating large gamma ray detectors being developed for homeland security cargo screening and physics experiments.  This device does not have to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the underlying neutron generator technology has proven reliable over long periods of time without the production of unwanted nuclear waste products.

STATUS:

  • Published Patent Application WO2010/051145 available at www.wipo.int. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2164

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