Effects of proton escape on detection efficiency in thin scintillator elements and its consequences for optimization of fast-neutron imaging
2011 (English)In: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, ISSN 0168-9002, Vol. 651, no 1, 110-116 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Plastic scintillators are commonly used for neutron detection in the MeV energy range, based on n–p scattering and the subsequent deposition of recoil proton's kinetic energy in the detector material. This detection procedure gives a quasi-rectangular energy deposition distribution for mono-energetic neutrons, extending from zero to the neutron energy. However, if the detector sensitive element (DSE) is small, the energy deposition may be incomplete due to the recoil proton escape.
In the application of neutron imaging, here exemplified by fast-neutron tomography, two conflicting requirements have been identified: (1) thin DSEs are required to obtain high spatial resolution and (2) energy discrimination may be required to reduce the influence of neutrons being scattered into the DSEs, which generally occurs at lower energies. However, at small DSE widths, the reduction of energy deposition due to recoil proton escape may cause a significant decrease in detection efficiency when energy discrimination is applied.
In this work, energy deposition distributions in small-size DSEs have been simulated for Deuterium–Deuterium (DD; 2.5 MeV) and Deuterium–Tritium (DT; 14.1 MeV) fusion neutrons. The intrinsic efficiency has been analyzed as a function of energy discrimination level for various detector widths. The investigations show that proton recoil escape causes a significant drop in intrinsic detection efficiency for thin DSEs. For DT neutrons, the drop is 10% at a width of 3.2 mm and 50% at a width of 0.6 mm, assuming an energy threshold at half the incident neutron energy. The corresponding widths for a DD detector are 0.17 and 0.03 mm, respectively.
Finally, implications of the proton escape effect on the design of a fast-neutron tomography device for void distribution measurements at Uppsala University are presented. It is shown that the selection of DSE width strongly affects the instrument design when optimizing for image unsharpness.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 651, no 1, 110-116 p.
Neutron tomography, plastic scintillator, neutron detector, Neutron imaging, Recoil protonescape, Edge effects
Research subject Applied Nuclear Physics; Physics with specialization in Applied Nuclear Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-146195DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2011.01.002ISI: 000295437900024OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-146195DiVA: diva2:397720