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Boride-Rich Boron Material for Neutron Detection
Category(s):
For Information, Contact:
Jay Bjerke
Commercialization Manager, Engineering
515-294-4740
licensing@iastate.edu
Web Published:
5/7/2015
ISURF #
3277
Summary:
Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a material that can be used to detect nuclear substances

Development Stage:
Description:
Neutrons are produced by fission of nuclear materials or by naturally occurring radioactive decay.  Detection of neutrons, for example at transportation hubs, in shipping containers, or in luggage, may indicate the presence of smuggled nuclear material or even hidden nuclear weapons.  However, neutrons are difficult to detect because they lack a charge and conventional neutron detectors require large gas-filled chambers and high voltages.  Efforts to miniaturize neutron detectors through the development of new materials have suffered from drawbacks that include low sensitivity, susceptibility to radiation damage, and lattice strain.  To overcome these disadvantages, ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a boride-rich boron material that has utility for neutron detection.  This icosahedral boride semiconducting material has a higher volumetric density of boron atoms than other boride-based neutron detecting materials, can be made an n-type semiconducting material—enabling all boride n-p junctions—and is homogeneous.  In addition, the material can be applied as an amorphous material, with potentially better resistance to radiation damage, as well as a crystalline film.  Since the material can be manufactured using sputtering or pulsed laser deposition, it may thus enable the development of practical and inexpensive neutron detectors with potentially great value in homeland security, industrial safety, and other applications. 

Advantage:
• Effective (the material shows relatively high carrier mobility, even in an amorphous form)
• Flexible (can be applied as amorphous material or crystalline film)
• Safer and more environmentally friendly (can be produced using pulsed laser deposition which does not require the use of toxic gases needed for chemical vapor deposition or other production methods)
• Robust (the material shows less lattice strain for growth on silicon than other boron-based materials)
Application:
Neutron Sensing for Homeland Security and Other Applications

References:
Patent Information:
*To see the full version of the patent(s), follow the link below, then click on "Images" button.
Country Serial No. Patent No. Issued Date
United States 11/422,629 7,375,343* 5/20/2008


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