A scintillating plastic fiber tracking detector for neutron and proton imaging and spectroscopy

James Ryan, University of New Hampshire
Calos M. Casteneda, University of California - Davis
D Holslin, Science Applications International Corporation
J R. Macri, University of New Hampshire - Main Campus
M L. McConnell, University of New Hampshire - Main Campus
Juan L. Romero, University of California - Davis
C B. Wunderer, University of New Hampshire - Main Campus


We report on a prototype detector system designed to perform imaging and spectroscopy on 20–250 MeV neutrons. The detection techniques employed can be applied to measurements in a variety of disciplines including solar and atmospheric physics, radiation therapy and nuclear materials monitoring. The detector measures the energy and direction of neutrons 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. The scintillation tracks are detected and imaged by photomultipliers and image intensifier/CCD camera optics. 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. The self-triggering and track imaging features of a prototype for tracking in two dimensions are demonstrated in calibrations with 14–65 MeV neutrons, 20–67.5 MeV protons, and with cosmic-ray muons. Preliminary results of phantom imaging measurements using a proton beam are also presented. We discuss several applications for this detector technique and outline future development work.