High-Efficiency Microstructured Semiconductor Neutron Detectors2009 R&D 100 Winner

Coated semiconductor diodes have been eyed for decades as a way to reliably detect neutrons, and for good reason. Compact size, low power, low cost, durability, and mass-production friendliness are all factors that help offset the inherent disadvantage of a practical maximum thermal-neutron detection limit of 4.5%. For that reason they have not been considered a viable neutron detection technology, until the recent introduction of High-Efficiency Microstructured Semiconductor Neutron Detectors by researchers at the SMART Laboratory at Kansas State Univ. and Alion Science and Technology, Alexandria, Va. A new technique has been developed to create perforations in semiconductor diodes that are backfilled with neutron absorbing materials, thereby creating high-efficiency, perforated, solid-state neutron detectors. The result is a detector that weighs far less than existing detectors, costs far less, and is easily mass-producible using very-large-scale integration methods. The compact size and scalability suggests dozens of potential applications, from particle physics to border security.

Technique to create coated semiconductor diodes

Kansas State Univ.
Alion Science and Technology