Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics Research

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Thermal Neutron Detectors for Security Applications

John McMillanEd Marsden, Clive Lester
Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Sheffield Corus Northern Engineering Services
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Unambiguous detection of neutrons enables remote detection of fissile materials.


Detection of illegally transported special nuclear materials, clandestine nuclear weapons and dirty bombs. Detection of Uranium, Plutonium and other transuranics in scrap metal before melting. Potential feedback into future particle astrophysics experiments.


High detection efficiency
Low background - minimal false positives
Large area - square metres
Rapid real-time response
Industrially deployable (robust, rugged, stable, durable...)
Low cost in comparison to industry-standard 3He proportional tubes at $30,000/m2 (prices rising!)

Incremental Approach

Improved version of existing detectors using Laminar 6LiF- ZnS with wavelength shifting readout and pulse counting discrimination.

Radical Approaches

New thermal neutron scintillator mixtures based on 6Li or 10B New ideas in light collection Digital Signal Processor (DSP) based discrimination

Corus Redeem

Corus is the only UK manufacturer and supplier of radiation portal monitors and has been manufacturing radiation detection equipment since the late 1980's. Their research team is based at Swinden Technology Centre in Rotherham where a continuous improvement programme on radiation detection systems is undertaken.

Industrial collaboration between UoS Particle Astrophysics group and Corus-Redeem, Rotherham
Funded directly by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch

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