Neutron Damage in Mechanically-Cooled High-Purity Germanium Detectors for Field-Portable Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA) Systems

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Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation (PGNAA) systems require the use of a gamma-ray spectrometer to record the gamma-ray spectrum of an object under test and allow the determination of the object’s composition. Field-portable systems, such as Idaho National Laboratory’s PINS system, have used standard liquid-nitrogen-cooled high-purity germanium (HPGe) detectors to perform this function. These detectors have performed very well in the past, but the requirement of liquid-nitrogen cooling limits their use to areas where liquid nitrogen is readily available or produced on-site. Also, having a relatively large volume of liquid nitrogen close to the detector can impact some assessments, possibly leading ... continued below

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Seabury, E.H.; Wharton, C.J.; Caffrey, A.J.; McCabe, J.B. & Siclen, C. DeW. Van October 1, 2013.

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Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation (PGNAA) systems require the use of a gamma-ray spectrometer to record the gamma-ray spectrum of an object under test and allow the determination of the object’s composition. Field-portable systems, such as Idaho National Laboratory’s PINS system, have used standard liquid-nitrogen-cooled high-purity germanium (HPGe) detectors to perform this function. These detectors have performed very well in the past, but the requirement of liquid-nitrogen cooling limits their use to areas where liquid nitrogen is readily available or produced on-site. Also, having a relatively large volume of liquid nitrogen close to the detector can impact some assessments, possibly leading to a false detection of explosives or other nitrogen-containing chemical. Use of a mechanically-cooled HPGe detector is therefore very attractive for PGNAA applications where nitrogen detection is critical or where liquid-nitrogen logistics are problematic. Mechanically-cooled HPGe detectors constructed from p-type germanium, such as Ortec’s trans-SPEC, have been commercially available for several years. In order to assess whether these detectors would be suitable for use in a fielded PGNAA system, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has been performing a number of tests of the resistance of mechanically-cooled HPGe detectors to neutron damage. These detectors have been standard commercially-available p-type HPGe detectors as well as prototype n-type HPGe detectors. These tests compare the performance of these different detector types as a function of crystal temperature and incident neutron fluence on the crystal.

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  • 2013 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference,Seoul, Korea,10/27/2013,11/02/2013

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-13-29178
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1114566
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc867845

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  • October 1, 2013

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  • Sept. 16, 2016, 12:32 a.m.

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  • Nov. 30, 2016, 12:42 p.m.

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Seabury, E.H.; Wharton, C.J.; Caffrey, A.J.; McCabe, J.B. & Siclen, C. DeW. Van. Neutron Damage in Mechanically-Cooled High-Purity Germanium Detectors for Field-Portable Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA) Systems, article, October 1, 2013; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc867845/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.