Testing on novel neutron detectors as alternative to 3He for security applications

Paolo Peerani, Alice Tomanin, Sara Pozzi, Jennifer Dolan, Eric Miller, Marek Flaska, Marco Battaglieri, Raffaella De Vita, Luisa Ficini, Giacomo Ottonello, Giovanni Ricco, Geraint Dermody, Calvin Giles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Detection of illicit trafficking of nuclear material relies on the detection of the radiation emitted. In the case of plutonium, one of the characteristic signatures derives from neutron emission. For this reason, neutron detectors cover an important role in detection systems. Most current neutron detection systems used for nuclear security are based on the 3He technology. Unfortunately, in the last few years the market of 3He has encountered huge problems in matching the supply and the demand. The need has grown significantly due to the increasing demand of instrumentation for security. This has caused an exponential increase of the price from one side and on the other side a serious strategic problem of resources. In order to guarantee the availability of detection systems for nuclear security, it is necessary to develop alternative detection systems based on technologies different from 3He. Many research projects have been devoted for the development of novel neutron detectors both by research organisations and by industries. Scientists from the PERLA laboratory of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy, and their collaborators have tested several of these novel concepts in the last couple of years. This paper describes the detector systems tested at JRC and preliminary results on detectors that can be considered as promising alternatives to 3He.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-120
Number of pages11
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
StatePublished - Dec 22 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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