High temperature radiation hard detectors (HTRaD)

Lead Research Organisation: Brunel University London
Department Name: Mech. Engineering, Aerospace & Civil Eng


Development of a solid state radiation hard high temperature sensor for neutron and gamma detection has many potential
uses. With long term reliability suitable for use in nuclear power generation plant, high energy physics, synchrotron
favilities, medical devices and national resiliience the use of solid state diamond devices is an obvious choice. Diamond
eliminates the need to use helium-3 and is very radiation hard. Diamond is an expensive synthetic material and challenging
to process reliably so work needs undertaking on the use of less expensive poly-crystalline diamond. Areas of innovation
include precise laser cutting and plasma processing of diamond to improve the production of multi-layer devices for neutron
detection. Diamond polishing needs to be improved and understood so that optimal and economic devices can be
manufactured. Advanced electron micropscopy techniques, nano-mechanical and tensile testing, radiation testing as well
as high temperature neutron performance and mechanical stability will be demonstrated to show how this technology can
be applied successfully to future power plant designs and radiation monitoring.

Planned Impact

UK industry will directly benefit since 2 companies will be major players in the supply chain, E6, supply high value diamond
substrates and Micron Semiconductor Ltd who will be developing the detectors with the support of the Wolfson Centre for
Materials Processing and the School of Engineering and Design at Brunel University. Technologies already exist to carry
out neutron detection but we are seeking to push the boundaries in terms of temperature and long term stability which
means that the users will be able to apply the detectors into new areas and into high dose situations where bulky shielding
is not an option.
Industry users who want to monitor radiation levels, particularly thermal neutron levels must find a solution to the use of
dwindling supplies of He-3 isotope, due to the reduction in nuclear weapons where this isotope was a waste product from
decommissioning/servicing of nuclear bombs. There is a wide range of industrial and civilian users and beneficiaries that
will benefit from the implementation of this technology due to the technical advantages that it offers. The nuclear power
industry is one target audience that will benefit, both civil and military users, where these devices are used in control and
monitoring settings and could be used inside or outside of shielding. End users will benefit from the cheap production of
electricity and the long term goal in reduction of carbon dioxide emissions - this technology plays its part in supporting the
introduction and maintenance of the nuclear industry. Mineral and oil exploration where these devices could be used
instead of more bulky He-3 detectors and introduction will happen if costs are reasonable. Medical users, research and
patients, will benefit from more effective treatments, especially with modern particle therapy such as proton therapy and
treatments based at national synchrotron sites where diamond has been used to monitor dose effectively. National
resilience and border control carrying out remote monitoring since neutrons are used to monitor at standoff distances and
in long term storage of radioactive materials due to the long operation time of the devices due to the stability of diamond.


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Broxtermann M (2017) Cathodoluminescence and Photoluminescence of YPO 4 :Pr 3+ , Y 2 SiO 5 :Pr 3+ , YBO 3 :Pr 3+ , and YPO 4 :Bi 3+ in ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology

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Den Engelsen D (2016) Red Shift of CT-Band in Cubic Y 2 O 3 :Eu 3+ upon Increasing the Eu 3+ Concentration in ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology

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Fern G (2015) Cathodoluminescence and electron microscopy of red quantum dots used for display applications in Journal of the Society for Information Display

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Fern G (2020) Performance of four CVD diamond radiation sensors at high temperature in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

Description We have developed methods for characterisation and of the semi-conductor materials that are being used in this radiation detector development project as well as in the manufacture of wide band gap ionising radiation detectors and in their operation at high temperature. The project completed on track against the timeframe of the project plan that has been agreed with the InnovateUK appointed Monitoring Officer. Related research is planned in this field within the collaborative team developed at Brunel University London to take work forwards with a new funding application for the future which is beyond the scope of the current project.
Exploitation Route We have been quite restrictred in publishing the works but have been able to agree with our industrial partners to publish papers relating to the modelling of the devices that they and Brunel have made. These models could be used by others alone or in conjuction with us. These will be useful for researchers designing new neutron detectors.

Technical details will be restricted by the industrial partners. The UK industry partner working on this project has commercialised the detectors and has a catologue online (http://www.micronsemiconductor.co.uk/diamond-alternative/#intro).

The university continue to published performance data on their work.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy

Description This project has supported our industrial partners and allowed Brunel University London to widen their expertise in device modelling, manufacture and operation. The industry partners and university have benefited from their combined expertise and facilities. The UK industry partner is now selling a diverse range of these devices. The manufacturing facilities are now used in InnovateUK COVID project 84248 and by an EPSRC funded PhD student.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Electronics,Energy,Healthcare
Impact Types Economic

Description Diamond Thermal Neutron Detector
Amount £371,845 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/W000717/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 12/2024
Description Electron Microscopy and materials characterisation, working with industry 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Collaborating with industry: Electron Microscopy and materials characterisation, working with industry, George Fern, review of industry projects and outcomes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
Description IOP meeting on Particle Detectors 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A talk to a group of ~35 industrial and academic attendees was given on the use of CVD diamond as a high temperature radiation detector. There is a large variety of work conducted in the UK on particle physics instrumentation. This includes research into novel silicon detectors for future collider experiments and other applications such as medical physics or astronomy. This work is carried out at universities and research labs, often in collaboration with industry. Technology developed for fundamental physics applications has found applications in other fields. The aim of this meeting is to build connections between particle physicists working on these systems, and the wider UK sensors and instrumentation community, with the goal of identifying areas where industry can assist the high energy physics world, and possible further applications of the latest innovations.

The meeting included talks on:
•ATLAS detectors and the LHC upgrade
•Detectors PRaVDA and proton therapy
•Novel silicon detectors
•Detectors for astrophysics and industry applications
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://indico.cern.ch/event/654712/
Description Ionising Radiation Sensors for High Temperature Applications 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation Title: Ionising Radiation Sensors for High Temperature Applications, Invited Lecture by Peter Hobson at York University to department for PhD students, PDRA and academic staff.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description Physics Innovation Nuclear Topical Research Meeting with academia and industry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The 'Physics Driving Innovation across the Nuclear Industry' conference was organised by the IOP Nuclear Industry Group in co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Association, which aimed to demonstrate the value that physicists bring to the nuclear industry. The event brought together academia, industry and the supply chain to celebrate successes and demonstrate the value that physics brings to the nuclear industry and UK Plc. The conference was split up into three main sections:
Nuclear New Build
Energy companies are currently planning to install up to 16 GW-worth of new nuclear power generation capacity in the UK, with the first of these new plants due to become operational in the mid-2020s. This section of the conference will provide an opportunity to learn more about these plans and engage in discussion with industry leaders, focusing on the key role of physics in the innovative solutions that are to be installed on these new builds.
Waste Management and Decommissioning
The UK has been and remains a key player on the nuclear world stage. This status is the result of many decades of pioneering research as well as routine operations. All of these ventures give rise to wastes and legacy facilities, and this section of the conference will examine how physics, and indeed physicists, can feed into the plans to retire the risks associated with these legacy hazards.
Nuclear Research
Continuous research efforts and knowledge expansion in nuclear physics are necessary to drive technological innovation. In this section of the conference, there will be talks on how physics is playing its part in this research, with plenty of time for questions and discussion with current research leaders. Also, throughout the conference there will be poster displays which showcase ongoing nuclear physics research in the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://pin2017.iopconfs.org/home
Description Poster Presentation at 15th Vienna Conference on Instrumentation. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster presentation at international conference by Prof Hobson and Dr Smith.

George R Fern, Peter R Hobson, Alex Metcalfe and David R Smith, Performance of four CVD diamond radiation sensors at high-temperature, 15th Vienna Conference on Instrumentation, Vienna Austria, 18-22 February 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://indico.cern.ch/event/716539/contributions/3246110/attachments/1796810/2929536/VCI_2019_Poste...
Description Seminar at QMUL 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact An invited seminar to members of the Particle Physics group (and other groups) at QMUL. Audience was composed of academic staff, research fellows and PhD students. Seminar abstract was:
"Applications in the civil nuclear industry and oil and gas well logging now demand robust radiation sensors which can reliably operate at temperatures in excess of 200 C. In this talk I will discuss recent research carried out in my group and elsewhere to show what has, and has not, yet been achieved in developing sensors based on CVD diamond for these challenging environments. I will discuss the current challenges and areas for future work."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://pprc.qmul.ac.uk/seminars/high-temperature-ionising-radiation-sensors-based-cvd-diamond