Alternatives to Helium-3 for neutron multiplicity counters

Azaree T. Lintereur, James H. Ely, Richard T. Kouzes, Edward R. Siciliano, Martyn T. Swinhoe, Mitchell L. Woodring

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Multiplicity counters are an example of a neutron detection system affected by the shortage of 3He. Efforts are underway to identify potential 3He neutron detector replacements for use in multiplicity counters. Boron-10 and 6Li based systems are two of the options being explored as near-term 3He alternatives for neutron multiplicity counters. Simulations of BF3 filled proportional counters, 10B-lined proportional counters and 6Li/ZnS(Ag) sheets in various configurations have been performed with the Monte Carlo particle transport code MCNPX and compared to simulations of existing 3He counters. The system performances are being compared using figure of merits that are the square or cube of the total system efficiency divided by the die-away time (the average lifetime of neutrons in the counter). Design considerations include developing a system with enough neutron detection material to achieve the highest possible efficiency, while simultaneously minimizing system size. Adequate moderation is required to thermalize the incident neutrons for increased counting efficiency, but as the system size increases so will the die-away time. The optimal moderator configuration is one for which the increase in neutron detection efficiency is not off-set by an increase in die-away time. Thus, the entire system performance must be evaluated with every configuration change. The simulation results will be validated against a bench-top demonstrator unit design based on the system identified through simulations as having the highest performance potential. Presented here are the simulation results with various configurations of BF3 filled proportional counters, 10B lined proportional counters and 6Li/ZnS(Ag) sheets, and preliminary measurements with the initial bench-top system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2012 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference Record, NSS/MIC 2012
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2012
Event2012 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference Record, NSS/MIC 2012 - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: Oct 29 2012Nov 3 2012

Publication series

NameIEEE Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record
ISSN (Print)1095-7863


Other2012 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference Record, NSS/MIC 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAnaheim, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiation
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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