PartTec Strikes Manufacturing and Marketing deal with Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Radiation detection device manufacturer PartTec has entered into an agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory of the Department of Energy to produce and market the latter’s state-of-the-art neutron detection device.

DOE’s Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor complex, which is regarded as the most sophisticated neutron science complex in the world, has developed this Shifting Scintillator Neutron Detector system. The device can estimate the position and time of the captured neutron at a high level of accuracy, including its time of flight measurement data. Features of the neutron detection system that made the deal attractive to PartTec include its capability to communicate digitally and very low consumption of power.

The agreement stands testimony to PartTec’s support to the activities of the Spallation Neutron Source's team of scientists engaged in the development of the detector team for almost five years, in terms of management, component manufacturing and engineering skills, according to the CEO of PartTec, Herschel Workman. Workman added that the detector has already proven effective with the Vulcan and Powgen equipment at Spallation Neutron Source.

Besides deployment at other facilities engaged in neutron science, the device will find commercial applications in sea, air and land security in the area of fissionable material detection. PartTec re-engineered the neutron detector as an alternative system to manage helium-3 supply shortage as well as meet the increasing demand forecasted for neutron detectors.

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed the neutron detector for serve the high rate and large detector areas (a maximum of 45 square meters) requirements for the SNS Powgen equipment. Further enhancements made to the system include data collection electronics, light collecting optics and neutron capturing scintillator. The data collection system features a unique neutron event detection technique that uses single photon bit pattern encoding method.

The neutron detector provides for the arrangement of extremely large detector arrays as it has a modular construction. Ron Cooper of the SNS development team states that detector coverage of more than 50 square meters can be achieved along with other advantages such as good position resolution and high rate capability. Besides, the detector system features advanced distributed PC-based electronics.

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