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Awards

Topic Information Award/Contract Number Proposal Information Company Performance
Period
Award/Contract
Value
Abstract

11.1-001
Development of commercial hand-held and backpack neutron detectors

HSHQDC-12-C-00012 SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-001-FP-008-II
(HSHQDC-11-R-00087 Phase II)
Hand-held Neutron Detector

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

05/16/2012
to
10/31/2014
$999,994.00

Proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons is a serious threat. 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 ray 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 quantity of this gas is becoming limited, therefore, new solutions are required for an efficient detection system that would allow neutron detection with an ability to discriminate gamma ray 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 handheld thermal neutron detector based on a Cs2LiYCl6:Ce (CLYC) scintillator [Combes, van Loef], which is an ideal candidate for the task [Bessiere, Glodo 08, Glodo 09]. CLYC offers (1) efficient thermal neutron detection (higher per-volume than He-3); (2) excellent separation between gamma and neutron particles (better than 10-6); and (3) gamma-ray energy resolution as good as 4% at 662 keV for dual mode (neutron and gamma) detectors. The last property is very fortunate, since the majority of current handheld thermal neutron detectors include a separate gamma detector. In most cases, in addition to neutron counts the detection system should provide information about the dose rate and / or simple isotope characterization based on four categories ¿ NORM (Natural occurring radiation materials), SNM (Special nuclear materials), Medical and Industrial Radio-nuclides. The good gamma ray energy resolution of CLYC should guarantee an accurate energy compensated dose rate and reliable characterization of gamma ray radiation. In the last couple of years, CLYC manufacturing has progressed and 1 and 2 inch crystals are being routinely grown at RMD for internal and government purposes [Higgins]. Crystals with diameter as large as 3 inch have been grown. Moreover, the CLYC technology is currently being transferred by RMD to a commercial setting (Hilger), where full scale manufacturing of these crystals will take place. The final goal of this effort is to develop a handheld thermal neutron detector utilizing CLYC scintillators. In Phase I of the project we provided strong foundations for achieving this goal. We have shown that CLYC works well with silicon photomultipliers (MPPC from Hamamatsu). A CLYC/MPPC system provides a very compact device due to small size of this light detector.Built detectors showed clear neutron peaks (7% energy resolution), were capable of pulse shape discrimination, and could easily provide dose equivalent information for gamma ray radiation. Such combination works even if the crystal is in a form of a 1 in right cylinder, although pillar type geometry was found to be optimal from the efficiency point of view. Due to their optimal surface to volume ratio, our pillar detectors provided twice as many counts as a high pressure He-3 tube per volume unit. The objective of the Phase II effort is to design and construct prototypes of a compact neutron detector based on the CLYC scintillator. The Phase II work will be based on the Phase I experiments and results. It will focus on developing the detector and instrumentation technology to achieve the project goal of designing and prototyping a compact handheld neutron detector. The main areas of research and development will include (1) detector module optimization, such as detector form factor, light readout, and interface; (2) study of the detector signal shape and PSD performance as a function of the temperature and temperature stabilization of the system; (3) electronic module design and prototype development. Our goal will be to develop and realize a concept that can be expanded into multi-component systems, e.g. backpack implementation. In this project we will collaborate with Dr. Sara Pozzi at the University of Michigan. She will assist with the modeling and optimization of the neutron and gamma ray response of our detectors. The optimization will include detector and moderator dimensions.

11.1-001
Development of commercial hand-held and backpack neutron detectors

HSHQDC-12-C-00053 SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-001-FP-010-II
(HSHQDC-11-R-00087 Phase II)
Next Generation Neutron Detectors for Backpack and Handheld Applications

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

09/21/2012
to
08/09/2013
$477,542.30

Innovative American Technology Inc. (IAT) has developed a prototype backpack, a handheld neutron detector and a directional neutron detector based on our 6LiFZnS(Ag) neutron detector design. IAT has also developed prototype designs for a miniaturized sensor electronics module (MSEM) that integrate signal processing and power into an individual neutron detector module and the application of a solid state photomultiplier (SSPM) to enable a compact and rugged handheld neutron detector module. We would like to commercialize our backpack neutron detector using our miniature sensor electronics module to provide a low power and compact NDM for incorporation into a wide variety of backpack applications. We would also like to commercialize a compact and low power handheld neutron detector module using a solid state photomultiplier and a simplified set of electronics to provide neutron efficiency and gamma rejection that exceed the specified requirements in ANSI 42.43 and one that could be directly applied to the RadSeeker handheld detector system to demonstrate commercial viability. The estimated cost for the project is $ 477,530. The Cost Proposal is included in the Program Schedule on page 12. The proposed program is a ten-month effort for the rapid development and commercialization of the IAT Backpack and Handheld neutron detector modules. Initial efforts for both programs are currently underway.

11.1-001
Development of commercial hand-held and backpack neutron detectors

HSHQDC-12-C-00021 SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-001-FP-015-II
(HSHQDC-11-R-00087 Phase II)
Low Dark Current Portable Neutron Detector

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

08/06/2012
to
08/05/2014
$369,465.70

A Neutron detection device is an indispensable tool for power, medical, defense, and homeland security 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 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 performance readily able to replace the He-3 tubes, can be commercially manufactured at low cost for largescale deployment. Our success in Phase I demonstrated the feasibility of key fabrication steps and provided a rationale for carrying out the detector prototype development in Phase II, which will further lead to the large-scale manufacture of these next generation neutron detectors.

11.1-001
Development of commercial hand-held and backpack neutron detectors

HSHQDC-12-C-00020 SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-001-FP-019-II
(HSHQDC-11-R-00087 Phase II)
Stilbene Production for Fast Neutron Detection

Inrad Optics
181 Legrand Avenue
Northvale, NJ 07647-

06/15/2012
to
06/14/2014
$999,900.77

The detection of neutrons is a critical capability for the identification of special nuclear materials in homeland security applications. Both plutonium and uranium can be detected by their neutron signatures. Next-generation detectors should efficiently detect fission neutrons, even in a high background of gamma rays. Neutron detection systems consisting of 3He have found widespread use due to their neutron/gamma discrimination capabilities; however, 3He systems cannot directly detect fission neutrons and availability is now limited. Organic scintillation crystals such as stilbene offer direct fast neutron detection with high efficiency and good neutron/gamma discrimination. Recently, solution crystal growth has been demonstrated as a route towards the largescale production of organic scintillators. Growth of inorganic crystals from solution is an established commercial process; skilled practitioners can scale their operation to produce significant quantities of high quality material. The overall objective of the proposed effort is to demonstrate a method for industrial production of stilbene neutron detectors.

11.1-003
Growth & Characterization of New, Promising Advanced Scintillator Materials

HSHQDC-12-C-00016 SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-003-FP-001-II
(HSHQDC-11-R-00087 Phase II)
Eu2 Doped CSBal3 and CsBa215 Scintillators for Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy

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

05/15/2012
to
06/18/2014
$999,995.00

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

11.1-003
Growth & Characterization of New, Promising Advanced Scintillator Materials

HSHQDC-12-C-00048 SBIR11-1-SBIR11.1-003-FP-006-II
(HSHQDC-11-R-00087 Phase II)
Low -Stress Growth of BaBrI and CsBa2I5 Scintillators

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

09/06/2012
to
09/05/2014
$500,000.00

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