McConnell ML, Bloser PF, Connor TP, Ertley C, Legere J, Ryan JM, Wasti SK. Plans for the next GRAPE balloon flight, in UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XVIII. Vol 8859. ; 2013 :885909–885909.
We present the design and development of a dual-species, neutron/γ-ray imaging spectrometer for the identification and location of radioactive and special nuclear materials (SNM). Real-time detection and identification is important for locating fissile materials. These materials, specifically uranium and plutonium, emit neutrons and γ rays via spontaneous or induced fission. Co-located neutron and γ-ray emissions are a sure sign of fissile material, requiring very few spatially correlated events for a significant detection. Our instrument design detects neutrons and γ rays from all sources in its field of view, constructs images of the emission pattern, and reports the spectra for both species. The detection principle is based upon multiple elastic neutron-proton scatters in organic scintillator for neutrons, and Compton scattering in organic scintillator followed by photoelectric absorption in inorganic scintillator for γ rays. The instrument is optimized for neutron imaging and spectroscopy in the 1-20 MeV range. We recorded images and spectra of a Cf-252 source from 0.5 - 10 MeV, and have done similarly for several γ-ray sources. We report the results of laboratory testing of this expanded instrument and compare them to detailed Monte Carlo simulations using Geant4.
We have developed, fabricated and tested a prototype imaging neutron spectrometer designed for real-time neutron source location and identification. Real-time detection and identification is important for locating materials. These materials, specifically uranium and transuranics, emit neutrons via spontaneous or induced fission. Unlike other forms of radiation (e.g. gamma rays), penetrating neutron emission is very uncommon. The instrument detects these neutrons, constructs images of the emission pattern, and reports the neutron spectrum. The device will be useful for security and proliferation deterrence, as well as for nuclear waste characterization and monitoring. The instrument is optimized for imaging and spectroscopy in the 1-20 MeV range. The detection principle is based upon multiple elastic neutron-proton scatters in organic scintillator. Two detector panel layers are utilized. By measuring the recoil proton and scattered neutron locations and energies, the direction and energy spectrum of the incident neutrons can be determined and discrete and extended sources identified. Event reconstruction yields an image of the source and its location. The hardware is low power, low mass, and rugged. Its modular design allows the user to combine multiple units for increased sensitivity. We will report the results of laboratory testing of the instrument, including exposure to a calibrated Cf-252 source. Instrument parameters include energy and angular resolution, gamma rejection, minimum source identification distances and times, and projected effective area for a fully populated instrument.
We have been working on the development of a detector design for a large area coded aperture imaging system operating in the 10-600 keV energy range. The detector design is based on an array of Lanthanum Bromide (LaBr3) scintillators, each directly coupled to a Hamamatsu 64-channel multi-anode photomultiplier tube (MAPMT). This paper focuses on the development of the GEANT4-based simulations as an aid in the optimization of the detector design. The simulations have been validated by comparisons with various laboratory data sets. We will summarize the current status and latest findings from this study.