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Universe 2018, 4(12), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe4120134

Large High-Efficiency Thermal Neutron Detectors Based on the Micromegas Technology

1
IRFU, CEA, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
2
ESS, European Spallation Source ERIC, PO Box 176, SE-22 100 Lund, Sweden
3
Thin Film Physics Division, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
4
IHI Ionbond AG-Industriestraße 211, CH-4600 Olten, Switzerland
5
Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, CEA, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
6
Laboratory for Integration of Systems and Technology, CEA, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
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Abstract

Due to the so-called 3He shortage crisis, many detection techniques for thermal neutrons are currently based on alternative converters. There are several possible ways of increasing the detection efficiency for thermal neutrons using the solid neutron-to-charge converters 10B or 10B4C. Here, we present an investigation of the Micromegas technology. The micro-pattern gaseous detector Micromegas was developed in the past years at Saclay and is now used in a wide variety of neutron experiments due to its combination of high accuracy, high rate capability, excellent timing properties, and robustness. A large high-efficiency Micromegas-based neutron detector is proposed for thermal neutron detection, containing several layers of 10B4C coatings that are mounted inside the gas volume. The principle and the fabrication of a single detector unit prototype with overall dimension of ~15 × 15 cm2 and its possibility to modify the number of 10B4C neutron converter layers are described. We also report results from measurements that are verified by simulations, demonstrating that typically five 10B4C layers of 1–2 μm thickness would lead to a detection efficiency of 20% for thermal neutrons and a spatial resolution of sub-mm. The high potential of this novel technique is given by the design being easily adapted to large sizes by constructing a mosaic of several such detector units, resulting in a large area coverage and high detection efficiencies. An alternative way of achieving this is to use a multi-layered Micromegas that is equipped with two-side 10B4C-coated gas electron multiplier (GEM)-type meshes, resulting in a robust and large surface detector. Another innovative and very promising concept for cost-effective, high-efficiency, large-scale neutron detectors is by stacking 10B4C-coated microbulk Micromegas. A prototype was designed and built, and the tests so far look very encouraging. View Full-Text
Keywords: gaseous detectors; micro-pattern gaseous detectors (MPGD; GEM; Micromegas; Microbulk; etc.); neutron detectors (thermal neutrons); detector modeling and simulations; boron carbide coatings gaseous detectors; micro-pattern gaseous detectors (MPGD; GEM; Micromegas; Microbulk; etc.); neutron detectors (thermal neutrons); detector modeling and simulations; boron carbide coatings
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Tsiledakis, G.; Delbart, A.; Desforge, D.; Giomataris, I.; Papaevangelou, T.; Hall-Wilton, R.; Höglund, C.; Robinson, L.; Schmidt, S.; Menelle, A.; Pomorski, M. Large High-Efficiency Thermal Neutron Detectors Based on the Micromegas Technology. Universe 2018, 4, 134.

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