Homeland Security might soon have a new tool to add to its arsenal.
Researchers at Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new material that opens doors for a new class of neutron detectors.
With the ability to sense smuggled nuclear materials, highly efficient neutron detectors are critical for national security. Currently, there are two classes of detectors which either use helium gas or flashes of light. These detectors are very large—sometimes the size of a wall.
Northwestern and Argonne's material introduces a third class: a semiconductor that can absorb neutrons and generate electrical signals that can be easily measured. The semiconductor-based detector is also highly efficient and stable. It can be used both in small, portable devices for field inspections and very large detectors that use arrays of crystals.
The study will be published in the Jan. 16 issue of the journal Nature.To read more, click here.