Development of new generation handheld and backpack neutron detectors

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics


Transuranic elements like Plutonium are radioactive materials which spontaneously emit neutrons. A neutron detector is therefore a crucial tool to detect illicit trafficking of radioactive materials that could be used to make nuclear or dirty bombs. It is also an important tool for radio-protection at nuclear facilities. Currently most neutron detectors in use are based on Helium-3 gas tubes. The current shortage of Helium-3 means that the supply can no longer meet the demand.
Alternative technologies are needed in order to replace Helium-3 systems already deployed. This project aims to replace successfully Helium-3 detectors used as hand held and backpack system by a new technology based on layers of neutron sensitive material mixed with highly efficient scintillator. The technology is easily scalable and the design flexible enough to meet a wide range of detector requirements.


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Description We have developed a new type of radiation detector
Exploitation Route Seek for another company to take this or a spin out. In 2016 the PI secured a RSE/STFC Entreprise Fellow to help with this commercialisation.
Sectors Electronics,Energy,Healthcare,Security and Diplomacy

Description The detector system developed during the project has been used extensively to determine the best performance achievable with the technology. We have since then moved to a different detector design which has more capabilities.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal