High-Performance Portable Isotope Identification

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Physics


Hand-held radiation sensors are of high value to a wide range of industry and areas such as homeland security. Key requirements for such sensors are high energy resolution and good bulk efficiency. Conventionally, it is difficult to achieve both with the same device. Semiconductor detectors like CZT have high resolution but small volume, hence, low efficiency, while scintillator detectors have high efficiency but much poorer energy resolution.

We have developed a scintillator-based hand-held radiation sensor product with Kromek, a UK-based company, as part of a short KTP project. This project aims to substantially improve the performance of this product by exploring next-generation scintillator materials and novel photosensors. This will allow Kromek to stay ahead of the market and develop new products.


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Jenkins D (2015) Novel scintillators and silicon photomultipliers for nuclear physics and applications in Journal of Physics: Conference Series

Description We continued our work, started under a short KTP, to develop a high performance hand-held gamma-ray spectrometer based on new detector technology. This can be used to monitor for radioactive material in the environment or for homeland security. Significant improvements were achieved in the device performance through segmentation of the scintillation crystals within the detector and through GEANT4 modelling.
Exploitation Route We have since taken this project forward through subcontracted work from Kromek PLC under a project funded by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency. This is exploring changing the scintillator crystal forming the basis of the detector for next-generation materials with better performance. This latter work has also been successful.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.kromek.com/index.php/link-3/d3s
Description We worked with Kromek PLC based in Sedgefield, Co. Durham to develop a hand-held gamma-ray spectrometer which we earlier developed under a short KTP. The former design has led to a product for Kromek called SIGMA. The main component latterly went into a product called D3S which has combined neutron-gamma functionality. The US government ordered 1000 D3S units in 2015 and an order for 12000 was placed in 2016, comprising a $6M contract. Their has therefore been significant economic impact and value to UK industry.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Environment,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Economic

Description Nuclear physics outreach work 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact For the last ten years, I have been involved in a whole range of outreach activities related to nuclear physics, from lectures to local groups e.g. astronomical societies to lectures at major science festivals. A major focus has been on providing continuous professional development courses for teachers. These have taken place at several science learning centres including National Science Learning Centre in York. In addition, they have been given at Rutherford Lab and elsewhere. Around 500 teachers have been reached over the years.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010