A new research paper reveals how specially prepared carbon foam can be used in the detection of neutrons emitted by radioactive materials, which could give boost to security, industries and safety.
- The usual detection material helium 3 has become harder to obtain, at the same time the demand for nuclear detection material has increased.
- Boron is abundant and relatively low cost compared to helium-3, an advantage seen from the research.
- Also, the coated foam used, in particular, disperses the boron evenly throughout the detector, increasing efficiency of detection.
- Lavelle and his colleagues worked to build a series of experiments with scientists at NIST and the University of Maryland demonstrating that a process called noble gas scintillation can be controlled and characterized enough to detect the neutrons emitted by radioactive materials.
What is Scintillation ?
- Detecting neutrons is key to counterterrorism activities, such as screening cargo containers, as well as other important applications in nuclear power instrumentation, workplace safety and industry.