We developed a new detector concept with increased sensitivity to particle type and position for applications such as reactor antineutrino detection, neutron detection, imaging, and other applications. Our design exploited a new form of lithium-6 (6Li) doped pulse-shape-discriminating (PSD) plastic scintillator developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This material provides, in a plastic form, the same important capabilities as liquid organic scintillators prized for neutron and antineutrino detection. Plastic offers advantages as it is nonflammable, presents no material compatibility issues, and is easier to engineer without the need for dead (non-scintillating) material to contain the liquid.
Initially, PSD was thought to be a key ingredient in enabling above ground antineutrino detection. Subsequent experimental results confirmed this view using a liquid organic form of scintillation. Engineering and stability issues associated with deploying a liquid scintillator detector near a reactor nevertheless remain. Plastic is a promising solution to these issues. We focused on a key capability enabled by plastic—the particle type and position sensitivity enabled by fine segmentation—to make a detector sensitive to antineutrino direction for the first time. We researched various PSD plastic formulations, designed a 10-liter scale antineutrino detector, completed a simulation of the detector to support characterization, and finally, started building the detector.
Our research leveraged Livermore's core competencies in nuclear, chemical, and isotopic science and technology and advanced expertise in the Laboratory's counterterrorism mission area. Our results have also attracted industry partnership interest in both fast and thermal neutron detection.
Dazeley, S. 2017. "Antineutrino Detection Based on 6Li‐doped Pulse Shape Sensitive Plastic Scintillator." Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA. LLNL-PRES-732979.
——— . 2018. "Towards Directional Sensitivity to Reactor Antineutrinos with a Segmented Pulse Shape Discriminating (PSD) Plastic Scintillator Detector." Symposium on Radiation Measurements and Applications (SORMA XVII), June 2018, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. LLNL-ABS-746899.
Dazeley, S., et al. 2017. "Antineutrino Detection Based on 6Li-doped Pulse Shape Sensitive Plastic Scintillator and Gadolinium-doped Water." Antineutrino Detection Based on 6Li-doped Pulse Shape Sensitive Plastic Scintillator, Rethynmo, Crete, Greece, June 2017. LLNL-PROC-735100.
——— . 2017. "Directional Sensitivity to Reactor Antineutrinos with Pulse Shape Discriminating (PSD) Plastic Scintillator." Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA. LLNL-POST-740620.
——— . 2017. "Antineutrino Detection Based on 6Li-Doped Pulse Shape Sensitive Plastic Scintillator and Gadolinium-Doped Water." Applications of Nuclear Techniques (CRETE17), International Journal of Modern Physics: Conference Series. V48 (2018): 1860105. LLNL-PROC-735100.
——— . 2018. "Towards Directional Sensitivity to Reactor Antineutrinos with a Segmented Pulse Shape Discriminating (PSD) Plastic Scintillator Detector." Symposium on Radiation Measurements and Applications. LLNL-ABS-746899.
Javonovic, I., et al. 2019. "SANDD: A Highly-Segmented Pulse-Shape-Sensitive Plastic Scintillator Detector Incorporating Silicon Photomultiplier Arrays." National Nuclear Security Agency, Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation and Development UPR 2019. LLNL-BR-773147.
Mabe, A., et al. 2018. "Recent Developments in PSD Plastics: Optimization, Scaling, and Additives." SPIE Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics, San Diego, CA, August 2018. LLNL-ABS-748283.
——— . 2018. "Scintillator Materials Development at LLNL." Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA. LLNL-PRES-759723.
——— . 2019. "Developments in Lithium-Loaded Plastic Scintillators with Pulse Shape Discrimination." SPIE Optical Engineering and Applications, San Diego, CA, August 2019. LLNL-ABS-768471.
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