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Abstracts of HSHQDC-11-R-00087 Phase I Awards
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11.1-001

Company

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

Proposal Information SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-001-FP-008 - Hand-held Neutron Detectors
Topic Information 11.1-001 - Development of commercial hand-held and backpack neutron detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-11-C-00100
Abstract

Proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons is a serious threat and prevention of their spread has reached a state of heightened urgency in recent years. One of the ways to passively determine the presence of nuclear weapons is to detect and identify characteristic signatures of highly enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium. Neutrons and gamma rays are two signatures of these materials. Gamma ray detection techniques are useful because the presence of gamma rays of specific energies can confirm the presence of a particular isotope. This technique however, has one significant limitation. In the presence of a dense surrounding material such as lead, gamma ray attenuation can be significant. This can mask the gamma signatures of these special nuclear materials (SNM). Neutrons, on the other hand, easily penetrate dense and high atomic number materials. For heterogeneous or dense materials such as samples of metals, oxides, and nuclear waste, gamma ray attenuation is too high to permit accurate correction of the measured signal. Under these circumstances, passive assay techniques based on neutron detection are preferable. When detected, neutrons directly indicate the presence of spontaneously fissioning isotopes (plutonium and californium) and induced fissions (uranium). Therefore, neutron detection is an important component of the overall detection techniques used in identifying SNM. In radioisotope identification devices to date, the neutron detection was readily achieved using He-3 tubes. Unfortunately, in recent years the quantities of this gas are becoming limited, therefore, new solutions are required for an efficient detection system that would allow neutron detection with an ability to discriminate gamma events from neutron events. Gamma discrimination is critical because gamma rays are common background in neutron detection environment during SNM monitoring. In this project we propose a hand-held thermal neutron detector based on an elpasolite scintillator. Anticipated Benefits The goal of this project is to create a hand-held thermal neutron detector that can replace He-3 devices with similar or better performance. Detectors developed in the frame of this project will mainly find their application in nuclear monitoring areas, such as nuclear treaty verification, safeguards, environmental monitoring, nuclear waste cleanup, and border security. Other fields will also benefit from the advancement of the CLYC detection systems. Routinely, neutrons are employed to investigate structures of biological molecules or crystals. Nuclear and particle physics are other fields of science were thermal neutron detectors are used (e.g. n-n scattering experiments, fission of heavy nuclei). CLYC neutron sensors could also be used in other areas. With the increased interest and commitment to quality control, many industrial groups are developing neutron based non-destructive testing equipment. References Dr. Stephen Payne, LLNL, 7000 East Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-423-0570, payne3@llnl.gov Dr. Zhong He, U. of Michigan, 2355 Bonisteel Boulevard, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, 734-764-7130, hezhong@umich.edu Dr. William Moses, LBNL, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA 94720, 510-486-4432, WWMoses@lbl.gov

Company

Innovative American Technology Inc.
4800 Lyons Technology Parkway
Suite 3
Coconut Creek, FL 33073-4358

Proposal Information SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-001-FP-010 - Next Generation Neutron Detectors for Backpack and Handheld Applications
Topic Information 11.1-001 - Development of commercial hand-held and backpack neutron detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-11-C-00107
Abstract

Innovative American Technology proposes the development of a next generation neutron detector module to support human portable backpack and handheld neutron detector systems. The neutron detector module is based on our proven 6LiFZnS(Ag) detector modules coupled with a miniature sensor electronics module (MSEM) and solid-state photo-multiplier to provide a high performance neutron detectors that are compact, light-weight and have very low power consumption. We would also propose a neutron source directional capability for both the backpack and handheld neutron detector systems. The proof-of¿concept backpack neutron detector has been created by Innovative American Technology and that meets or exceeds neutron efficiency, gamma rejection and environmental requirements. IAT would like to provide four important improvements to the IAT human portable neutron detector: 1. Next generation neutron detector electronics designed to provide low-power consumption and small footprint. 2. Neutron detector directional indication capability that operates in a backpack configuration. 3. Neutron detector directional indication capability that operates in a handheld configuration. 4. Solid-State Photo-Multiplier applied to the 6LiFZnS(Ag) neutron detector.

Company

Agiltron, Inc.
15 Presidential Way
Woburn, MA 01801-1003

Proposal Information SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-001-FP-015 - Development of handheld and backpack neutron detectors
Topic Information 11.1-001 - Development of commercial hand-held and backpack neutron detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-11-C-00102
Abstract

A Neutron detection device is an indispensable tool for power, medical, defense, and homeland security applications. 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 the He-3 rare gas. Agiltron proposes an unprecedented fabrication and integration approach to make a Boron-10 filled micro -fabricated solid-state neutron detector, which, with performances readily to replace the He-3 tubes, can be commercially manufactured at low cost for largescale deployment. The success of this project will lead to the large-scale manufacture of these unmatched next generation neutron detectors.

Company

Photonic Products Group, Inc.
181 Legrand Ave
Northvale, NJ 07647-2404

Proposal Information SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-001-FP-019 - Stilbene Production for Fast Neutron Detection
Topic Information 11.1-001 - Development of commercial hand-held and backpack neutron detectors
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-11-C-00108
Abstract

The detection of neutrons is a critical capability for homeland security applications. Helium-3-based proportional counters are commonly employed; however, the supply of He-3 is insufficient to meet the demand. A replacement for He-3 detectors should efficiently detect neutrons in a gamma-ray background and be commercially available at prices equivalent to comparable detectors prior to the He-3 shortage. Organic scintillation crystals such as stilbene offer direct fast neutron detection with good neutron-gamma discrimination, yet availability has historically limited their use. Recently, solution crystal growth has been proposed as an alternate route towards the production of organic scintillators. In Phase I, Photonic Products Group, Inc. will develop a capability for production of stilbene crystals for efficient fast neutron detection.

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11.1-003

Company

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

Proposal Information SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-003-FP-001 - Eu2 Doped CsBaI3 and CsBa2I5 Scintillators
Topic Information 11.1-003 - Growth & Characterization of New, Promising Advanced Scintillator Materials
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-11-C-00105
Abstract

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear missiles and "dirty bombs" is a serious threat in the world today. Preventing the spread of these nuclear weapons has reached a state of heightened urgency in recent years, more so since the events on September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. Gamma-ray spectrometers are an important tool in monitoring the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Important requirements for the gamma-ray spectrometers used for nuclear non-proliferation include high energy resolution, high detection efficiency, low cost and reasonably fast response. None of the existing gamma-ray detectors satisfy all these requirements. Recently, a new class of Eu2+ doped scintillators based on BaI2-CsI compositions have shown considerable promise in gamma-ray spectroscopy. The goal of the proposed effort is to investigate and advance this promising class of scintillators. Anticipated Benefits New scintillator materials with high light output, excellent proportionality, very high energy resolution and reasonably fast response would offer unique advantages over many of the existing scintillators used in gamma-ray studies. The application addressed in this proposal is nuclear non-proliferation, where the proposed scintillators would offer better isotope identification with fewer false alarms. These scintillators will be useful in other areas too. Clinical SPECT systems and gamma-cameras, surgical probes, small animal imaging systems, and dedicated organ imaging systems would all benefit from the proposed innovation due to possibility of improved scatter rejection and higher spatial resolution. These sensors also have critical applications in other areas. The increased interest and commitment to quality control has motivated many industrial groups to develop gamma-ray based nondestructive testing equipment. High counting rates, wide dynamic range, high sensitivity, and low noise performance are important to minimize the required source strength which must be located on the production floor. This is an area in which the compactness, and flexibility of a high performance detector will have a major impact. Other applications include nuclear physics research, environmental monitoring, nuclear waste clean-up, astronomy and well-logging. References Dr. Stephen Payne, LLNL, 7000 East Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550 (925) 423-0570,payne3@llnl.gov Dr. Zhong He, U. of Michigan, 2355 Bonisteel Boulevard, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (734) 764-7130, hezhong@umich.edu Dr. William Moses, LBNL, 1 Cyclotron Rd. Berkeley, CA 94720 (510) 486-4432, WWMoses@lbl.gov

Company

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

Proposal Information SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-003-FP-003 - Mixed Barium Halide Scintillators for Gamma Ray Spectroscopy
Topic Information 11.1-003 - Growth & Characterization of New, Promising Advanced Scintillator Materials
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-11-C-00106
Abstract

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear missiles and "dirty bombs" is a serious threat in the world today. Preventing the spread of these nuclear weapons has reached a state of heightened urgency in recent years, more so since the events on September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. Gamma-ray spectrometers are an important tool in monitoring the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Important requirements for the gamma-ray spectrometers used for nuclear non-proliferation include high energy resolution, high detection efficiency, low cost and reasonably fast response. None of the existing classes of detectors satisfy all these requirements. Recently, mixed barium halide compositions doped with Eu2+ have emerged as promising scintillators for gamma-ray spectroscopy. The goal of the proposed effort is to explore this family of scintillators for eventual use in nuclear monitoring. Anticipated Benefits New scintillator materials with high light output, excellent proportionality, very high energy resolution and reasonably fast response would offer unique advantages over many of the existing scintillators used in gamma-ray studies. The application addressed in this proposal is nuclear non-proliferation, where the proposed scintillators would offer better isotope identification with fewer false alarms. These scintillators will be useful in other areas too. Clinical SPECT systems and gamma-cameras, surgical probes, small animal imaging systems, and dedicated organ imaging systems would all benefit from the proposed innovation due to possibility of improved scatter rejection and higher spatial resolution. These sensors also have critical applications in other areas. The increased interest and commitment to quality control has motivated many industrial groups to develop gamma-ray based nondestructive testing equipment. High counting rates, wide dynamic range, high sensitivity, and low noise performance are important to minimize the required source strength which must be located on the production floor. This is an area in which the compactness, and flexibility of a high performance detector will have a major impact. Other applications include nuclear physics research, environmental monitoring, nuclear waste clean-up, astronomy and well-logging. References Dr. Stephen Payne, LLNL, 7000 East Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-423-0570, payne3@llnl.gov Dr. Zhong He, U. Michigan, 2355 Bonisteel Boulevard, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, 734-764-7130, hezhong@umich.edu Dr. William Moses, LBNL, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA 94720, 510-486-4432, WWMoses@lbl.gov

Company

CapeSym, Inc.
6 Huron Drive
Suite 1B
Natick, MA 01760-1325

Proposal Information SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-003-FP-006 - Low-Stress Growth of Cesium Barium Iodide Scintillators
Topic Information 11.1-003 - Growth & Characterization of New, Promising Advanced Scintillator Materials
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-11-C-00109
Abstract

The recent discovery of Eu activated alkali-earth halide scintillators promises to revolutionize remote detection and identification of radioisotopes. This proposal addresses the development of methods for production of large-volume, high-quality CsBa2I5scintillators. High-quality, low-cost scintillators for detection of gamma-rays are needed for monitoring of nuclear non-proliferation and homeland security. The same scintillators can be used to significantly improve the performance and lower the cost of applications involving X-ray detection in nuclear medicine imaging and diagnostics , X-ray detectors for non-destructive testing, and environmental contamination monitoring. The work proposed here promises to result in production of scintillators for government and commercial applications with much higher performance and at much lower cost than currently available.

Company

CapeSym, Inc.
6 Huron Drive
Suite 1B
Natick, MA 01760-1325

Proposal Information SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-003-FP-008 - Low Stress Growth of Barium Bromine Iodide Scintillators
Topic Information 11.1-003 - Growth & Characterization of New, Promising Advanced Scintillator Materials
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-11-C-00110
Abstract

The recent discovery of Eu activated alkali-earth halide scintillators promises to revolutionize remote detection and identification of radioisotopes. This proposal addresses the development of methods for production of large-volume, high-quality Barium Bromine Iodide scintillators. High-quality, low-cost scintillators for detection of gamma-rays are needed for monitoring of nuclear non-proliferation and homeland security. The same scintillators can be used to significantly improve the performance and lower the cost of applications involving X-ray detection in nuclear medicine imaging and diagnostics , X-ray detectors for non-destructive testing, and environmental contamination monitoring. The work proposed here promises to result in production of scintillators for government and commercial applications with much higher performance and at much lower cost than currently available.

Company

Nanotrons Corp.
15 Presidential Way
Woburn, MA 01801-1003

Proposal Information SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-003-FP-010 - Novel Very Large Scintillator Crystal Growth Method
Topic Information 11.1-003 - Growth & Characterization of New, Promising Advanced Scintillator Materials
Award/Contract Number HSHQDC-11-C-00101
Abstract

Scintillators have been used in radiation detection applications including medical imaging, oil well drilling, and high energy physics experiments. The new security need for scintillators has changed the market dynamics from specialty niche to volume production. In this program, Nanotrons proposes a manufacturing method that potentially produces scintillator of very large size and high crystal quality at unprecedentedly low cost to meet the new demand. Our process is a novel simple process that grows large-size single crystal ingots by continuous solidification from a seed crystal without any moving parts. Due to the simplicity, the proposed process has salient advantages of large size and low cost. Without movements, the new process also prevents secondary nucleation and ensuring very low strain in the grown crystal. Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility.

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