ARI-MA: Collaborative Research: Hexagonal Boron Nitride Based Neutron Detectors

Project: Research project

Project Details


Collaborative Proposals

1038700 (PI: Hongxing Jiang, Texas Tech University)

1038890 (PI: James Edgar, Kansa State University)

ARI-MA: Collaborative Research: Hexagonal Boron Nitride Based Neutron Detectors

Fundamental studies on the properties and processing of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) will be performed to enable the fabrication of nearly ideal solid state thermal neutron detectors. Epitaxial films of this wide band gap semiconductor, prepared by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition, will be intentionally doped to control its electrical and optical properties. High structural quality, bulk hBN crystals will be grown from molten metal solutions, so the impact of extended defects on its properties can be determined. The hBN materials will be prepared with isotopically-enriched boron-10, to take advantage of its high thermal neutron capture cross section to enhance detector sensitivity. Definitive values of the fundamental properties of hBN will be determined by advanced materials characterization techniques. Solid state neutron detectors, including devices employing a novel multiple layer structure that can accommodate short mean free paths of charge carriers, will be fabricated, and their neutron detection ability thoroughly tested. Ultimately, the detectors developed is expected to have a major impact on nuclear threat detection and could lead to a large variety of useful devices, ranging from small disposable detectors to large area monitors, and provide an alternative to helium-3 based detectors. Graduate and undergraduate students from both participating institutions will be actively involved in this highly interdisciplinary research project.

Effective start/end date9/15/108/31/12


  • National Science Foundation: $210,096.00


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