Development of commercial hand-held and backpack neutron detectors
The Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is developing new materials and technology for thermal and fast neutrons detection to replace He-3 devices. Helium-3 currently exists in limited quantities, and these quantities are not enough to meet the expanding neeeds of industry and government.
Flexible Form Factor Radiation Monitor
Certain scenarios involving the search or surveillance for nuclear or radiological materials of concern are best accomplished with a radiation monitoring device that can be flexibly employed depending the mission, environment, and performance required of the device. An example would be a linear radiation monitor that affords neutron and gamma detection in a linear array up to 80 feet in length. These types of devices support monitoring in hard to reach locations, and can be tailored for use in different applications in various operating environments. The device(s) to be developed should have the following features: nominal weight and volume, modular design, readily stored and transported, and be man portable. Ideally, the proposed device(s) will provide high sensitivity for both neutron and gamma radiation along its length and/or across a large effective area, provide an indication as to where detected radiation is strongest, provide gamma spectroscopic information to allow high confidence nuclide identification, and be sensitive to neutrons without dependence on helium-3. The line radiation monitor must achieve measures of suitability that include highly rugged for deployment in harsh environments, battery operation, and reasonable cost. Flexible verses rigid designs are preferred. Potential applications to consider for the device(s) include the following: search of hard to reach locations in vessels, vehicles or cargo, man-portable mobile search and monitoring operations, impromptu portal monitoring operations, and potentially many others.
The Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is involved in discovering, identifying, developing, characterizing, and fabricating new scintillator materials for a variety of application spaces. DNDO has had several programs for several years discovering and investigating new scintillator materials and these programs have now produced lists of new promising candidate materials for crystal growth. Once identified as a promising material, hurdles often remain to actually grow large enough sized crystals to I) characterize the detection performance via measurement of the absorption characteristics pertinent to gamma and/or neutron radiation, verification of the absorption and transmission characteristics of the scintillating light, measurement of the brightness, determination of the non-linearity, and 2) characterize the growth potential in order to provide the required absolute efficiency needed for actual radiation detectors. Each material has its own unique challenges to crystal growth. The materials or families of materials which are the subject of this topic area are limited to the following, where ":Eu" indicates Europium doping: Group I: Ba2Cs1s:Eu BaCsl):Eu Group 2: BaBrI:Eu BaBrCI:Eu BaClI:Eu The stochiometry of this latter group (Group 2) can be varied to obtain preferential crystal structure, optimize or minimize trap defects, and improve ease of growth. The Offeror should limit effort to only one or a few of the above candidates to be consistent with period of performance, and should justify choice(s) in proposal. Dopant levels are to be optimized through both the Phase I and Phase II efforts. Proposal should describe approach in detail and justify why the chosen approach would be expected to succeed.