Abstracts of HSHQDC-15-R-00017 Phase I Awards
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H-SB015.1-008

Company

AOSense, Inc.
767 N. Mary Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94085-2909

Proposal Information HSHQDC-15-R-00017-H-SB015.1-008-0004-I - Shielded SNM Detection with Gravity Gradiometry
Topic Information H-SB015.1-008 - Mass/Shielding Anomaly Passive Detector Module
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-15-C-00006
Abstract

We propose to develop a cold-atom gravity gradiometer for nonintrusive, passive detection of shielded special nuclear material (SNM) inside a human occupied vehicle. Both SNM and SNM shielding consist of high-Z materials that are substantially denser than background. Previous theoretical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of gravity tomography for identification of shielded SNM. The proposed gravity detection approach is completely passive and safe to vehicle occupants. Furthermore, gravity detection of SNM is complementary to existing radiation detection methods. The fidelity of gravity detection improves with thicker SNM shielding. The proposed highly sensitive, stable, and fieldable gravity gradiometer will measure minute gravity field fluctuations to detect shielded SNM rapidly and with high detection fidelity. In Phase I, we will design and test key components of the gravity sensor. We will complete sensor subsystem build and integration in Phase II. Gravity gradiometer laboratory and field testing will follow in Phase III of the proposed project. The gravity gradiometer proposed for shielded SNM detection has numerous commercial applications: airborne gravity survey for mineral and oil prospecting, ground-based surveys to monitor water tables, and gravity-compensated inertial navigation. Compared to existing state-of-the-art gravity gradiometers, cold-atom sensors offer substantially improved stability, sensitivity, and SWaP at reduced complexity and cost.

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H-SB015.1-009

Company

Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc.
44 Hunt Street
Watertown, MA 02472-4699

Proposal Information HSHQDC-15-R-00017-H-SB015.1-009-0004-I - TlBr Detectors for Radiation Pagers
Topic Information H-SB015.1-009 - Stable Semiconductor Modules as Core Component in Pager Radiation Detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-15-C-00046
Abstract

RMD is proposing to construct a compact detector module utilizing a TlBr semiconductor device as the radiation sensitive element. While designed for pager applications, the highly efficient nature of TlBr and its spectroscopic potential will produce a detector technology that should greatly expand the capabilities of these instruments. The development will first require an evaluation of large volume detector designs, and accounting for trade-offs in spectroscopic performance, efficiency and electronic complexity. Additional tasks will include evaluating the detector over a wide range of operating conditions, to insure that requirements set forth in ANSI standards N42.32 are met, and determining best practices in certain key fabrication aspects that are vital to insuring long working lifetimes. The Phase 1 effort will result in a basic module design, including the device layout and readout requirements. In its completed state, the TlBr technology will provide a new level of performance to the Nation's capabilities in monitoring the flow of radioactive materials within its borders. Other potential commercial applications include nuclear medicine, space and geological sciences and industrial non-destructive testing.

Company

Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc.
44 Hunt Street
Watertown, MA 02472-4699

Proposal Information HSHQDC-15-R-00017-H-SB015.1-009-0006-I - Semiconductor Neutron Detector
Topic Information H-SB015.1-009 - Stable Semiconductor Modules as Core Component in Pager Radiation Detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-15-C-00045
Abstract

We propose to develop a thermal neutron detection module based on LiInSe2 semiconductor material as an alternative to He-3 detectors. While recent depletion of He-3 gas is the main driving force behind development of He-3 replacements, other issues with He-3 tubes such as a pressurized vessel used and microphonic issues are also important factors in handheld and portable detectors. LiInSe2 offers (1) efficient thermal neutron detection (significantly higher per-volume than 3H); (2) direct conversion of the neutrons to electrical signal, which is an advantage compared to the alternative solution based on scintillators with neutron detection capabilities; and (3) good separation between gamma and neutron particles utilizing simple pulse height discrimination. The final goal is to develop a LiInSe2 detection module and integrate it into a compact handheld instrument. The goals of Phase I are to advance the synthesis and crystal growth of high quality semiconductor material, and develop a prove-of-principle prototype module. In Phase II the final version of the detection module will be developed and integrated into a neutron handheld instrument.

Company

Lithium Innovations Company, LLC
3171 N. Republic Blvd.
Toledo, OH 43615-1515

Proposal Information HSHQDC-15-R-00017-H-SB015.1-009-0008-I - Personal Neutron Detector Based on Cadmium Telluride
Topic Information H-SB015.1-009 - Stable Semiconductor Modules as Core Component in Pager Radiation Detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-15-C-00007
Abstract

Lithium Innovations will explore the fabrication of a prototype, low-cost neutron detector based on a Li-6 sensitized cadmium-telluride semiconductor detector. The detector will be demonstrated to have high sensitivity to thermal neutrons, be very robust and configured as a pager neutron detector. The effort will build on Lithium Innovations unique expertise in forming lithium sheets for sputter targets in the glass industry and in supplying Li-6 sensitizer foils to R&D groups for neutron conversion into alpha particles and tritons. The project will leverage the recent development by subcontractor, Lucintech Inc, of thin-film, sputtered CdTe photovoltaic solar cells and modules. The detector design will also take advantage of recently developed flexible glass produced by Corning Incorporated. The thin, flexible glass will permit light weight detectors even for larger, more sensitive sizes. The detector is based on polycrystalline CdTe which provides much higher radiation hardness than Si-based detectors. Prototypes will be fabricated with processes scalable to large areas which opens the potential for large-area neutron detectors and low-cost manufacturing.

Company

Agiltron, Inc.
15 Presidential Way
Woburn, MA 01801-1040

Proposal Information HSHQDC-15-R-00017-H-SB015.1-009-0009-I - Compact Boron-Filled 3D Semiconductor Neutron Detector Module
Topic Information H-SB015.1-009 - Stable Semiconductor Modules as Core Component in Pager Radiation Detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-15-C-00009
Abstract

A Neutron detection device is an indispensable tool for Homeland Security, defense, power and medical applications. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons is a serious threat in today's world. Low cost, low power, high performance, rugged and portable neutron detection devices are highly desirable for these applications. Yet, the cost and production volume of the traditional He-3 tube based neutron detector are greatly limited by the availability of He-3 rare gas. Agiltron proposes an unprecedented fabrication and integration approach to make a boron-10 filled micro-fabricated 3D solid-state neutron detector, which, with performance comparable to He-3 tubes, can be commercially manufactured at low cost for large-scale deployment and will replace the LiI detector used in current personal radiation detectors (PRD). Our success in Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility of key fabrication steps and provided a rationale for carrying out the detector module development in Phase II, which will further lead to the large-scale manufacture of these next generation neutron detectors.

Company

CapeSym, Inc.
6 Huron Drive
Natick, MA 01760-1325

Proposal Information HSHQDC-15-R-00017-H-SB015.1-009-0010-I - Stable Tl-based Semiconductor Modules for Radiation Detection
Topic Information H-SB015.1-009 - Stable Semiconductor Modules as Core Component in Pager Radiation Detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-15-C-00044
Abstract

Thallium-based semiconductors are promising materials for detection of gamma rays, primarily due to their high Z, high electrical conductivity and optimum bandgap energy. This program focuses on two materials TlBr and Tl4I6Se. For TlBr, this program seeks to overcome long term stability issues related to presence of mobile ions. For Tl4I6Se, this program seeks to improve the crystalline and chemical quality of this material. We will investigate the feasibility of using these materials in personal radiation detectors (PRDs), and by the end of this program will down select one of the two and fabricate a PRD using a Tl-based semiconductor detector.

Company

Solid State Detection Devices, LLC
8 Champagne Ct
Watervliet, NY 12189-1245

Proposal Information HSHQDC-15-R-00017-H-SB015.1-009-0012-I - NEXT GENERATION SCALABLE SOLID STATE THERMAL NEUTRON DETECTOR
Topic Information H-SB015.1-009 - Stable Semiconductor Modules as Core Component in Pager Radiation Detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-15-C-00008
Abstract

Solid State Detection Devices LLC proposes to develop a new commercially viable next generation thermal neutron detecting system based on well established silicon integrated circuit technology. Hexagonal holes in honeycomb fashion with depth greater than 50 microns and vertical side walls will be fabricated on bulk silicon wafers of right conductivity using a combination of deep reactive ion etching and wet chemical etching processes. The hexagonal deep holes in silicon will be converted to a continuous pn junction and then filled with enriched boron using low pressure chemical vapor deposition for converting neutrons into alpha particles and lithium ions that will be detected by silicon pn junction. The efficiency of these detectors will exceed 50 percent and the detectors will be thin and operate at zero bias and will be stable over a long term exceeding two years. These detectors will find application in portable systems and in larger area detection systems. In addition the availability of these new types of thin less than 500 microns efficient nonbiased neutron detectors will enable new applications in neutron detection. For example more compact coincidence counting systems may be possible and moderated geometries that embed these new detectors become feasible.

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