We report on tests of a prototype detector system designed to perform imaging and spectroscopy on 20 to 250 MeV neutrons. Although developed for the study of high-energy solar flare processes, the detection techniques employed for SONTRAC, the SOlar Neutron TRACking experiment, can be applied to measurements in a variety of disciplines including atmospheric physics, radiation therapy and nuclear materials monitoring. The SONTRAC instrument measures the energy and direction ofneutrons by detecting double neutron-proton scatters and recording images of the ionization tracks of the recoil protons in a densely packed bundle of scintillating plastic fibers stacked in orthogonal layers. By tracking the recoil protons from individual neutrons, the kinematics of the scatter are determined. This directional information results in a high signal to noise measurement. SONTRAC is also capable of detecting and measuring high-energy gamma rays >20 MeV as a “solid-state spark chamber”. The self-triggering and track imaging features of a prototype for tracking in two dimensions are demonstrated in calibrations with cosmic-ray muons, 14 to ~65 MeV neutrons and ~20 MeV protons.


Space Science Center, Physics

Publication Date


Journal Title

Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, 1997. IEEE



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


c 1998 IEEE