News Release

A road map: High efficiency bulk-micromegas based neutron imaging detector

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Science China Press

Fig. 1 Novel Designs of Neutron Converters with Bulk-Micromegas Readouts

image: This shows; A) Micro-channel plate B) Parallel micro-pillar 2D array C) Oblique micro-pillar 2D array. view more 

Credit: ©Science China Press

To increase the neutron detection efficiency of Bulk-Micromegas (MICRO-MEsh GAseous Structure) neutron detectors, researchers from Lanzhou University (China), IRFU-CEA (France), and the University of Tennesse-Knoxville (USA) have proposed three novel converters (Fig. 1). When validated using Monte Carlo simulations, the design shown in Fig.1 C results in a threefold increase in neutron detection efficiencies. This work is described in detail in SCI CHINA: Tech. Sci. 2013, 43(3).

The team have now made a Bulk-Micromegas based neutron imaging detector with a traditional thin-film neutron convertor. The dimensions of the detector's sensitive area is 57.4 mm × 88.6 mm, which is composed of 1,728 rectangular pads (36 pads in the X direction and 48 pads in the Y direction). Each pad has an area of 1.50 mm × 1.75 mm ( Although the detector has a relatively low neutron detection efficiency, very good mask images are obtained (Fig. 2). Without any modification, the detector can be used as a 2D neutron beam monitor for projects that require low detection efficiency (detectors with high detection efficiency cannot operate with high intensity neutron beams). At the IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference, CA, USA (2012), Dr. Xiaodong Zhang presented this work on behalf of the FNI collaboration.

The team is currently collaborating with companies to make detectors using micro-machining and new printed circuit board techniques.

Additionally, the novel detectors can be used to improve thermal neutron, cold neutron and ultra-cold neutron efficiencies, through simply changing the detection conversion material from polyethylene to boron-10, or lithium-7. Dr. Zhang is optimistic about the impact of these detectors in different research fields: "By choosing different conversion materials I envisage that at least a 10% detection efficiency can be achieved for thermal neutron detection. Our detectors can be used to replace the current neutron detectors which use helium-3, and hence reduce the demand for helium-3." Currently, his team is developing this technique at Spalation Neutron Source in Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA.


Corresponding Author:

ZHANG, XiaoDong on behalf of FNI collaboration*

See the article: AN LvXing, SHEN HuaYa, ZHANG ChunHui, WAN ChengLiang, CHEN YongHao, HO ZhanYing and ZHANG XiaoDong. Optimization of neutron convertor inside Bulk-Micromegas based fast neutron imaging system with Geant4 simulation. SCI CHINA Tech. Sci, 2013, 43(3): 315-319.doi: 10.1360/092012-1271

* FNI (Fast Neutron Imager) collaboration: 1) ZHANG XiaoDong, WAN ChengLiang, ZHANG ChunHui, WANG WenXin, SHEN HuaYa, AN LvXing, CHEN YongHao, HE ZhanYing, and WEI Kun, School of Nuclear Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, P.R. China; 2) ZHANG XiaoDong, Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Knoxville, TN, USA, 37996; 3) Paul Colas, David Attie, WANG WenxXin, M. Rillot, IRFU-CEA, Saclay, 91191, France.

Science China Press Co., Ltd. (SCP) is a scientific journal publishing company of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). For 50 years, SCP takes its mission to present to the world the best achievements by Chinese scientists on various fields of natural sciences researches.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.