We have developed, fabricated and tested a prototype imaging neutron spectrometer designed for real-time neutron source location and identification. Real-time detection and identification is important for locating materials. These materials, specifically uranium and transuranics, emit neutrons via spontaneous or induced fission. Unlike other forms of radiation (e.g. gamma rays), penetrating neutron emission is very uncommon. The instrument detects these neutrons, constructs images of the emission pattern, and reports the neutron spectrum. The device will be useful for security and proliferation deterrence, as well as for nuclear waste characterization and monitoring. The instrument is optimized for imaging and spectroscopy in the 1-20 MeV range. The detection principle is based upon multiple elastic neutron-proton scatters in organic scintillator. Two detector panel layers are utilized. By measuring the recoil proton and scattered neutron locations and energies, the direction and energy spectrum of the incident neutrons can be determined and discrete and extended sources identified. Event reconstruction yields an image of the source and its location. The hardware is low power, low mass, and rugged. Its modular design allows the user to combine multiple units for increased sensitivity. We will report the results of laboratory testing of the instrument, including exposure to a calibrated Cf-252 source. Instrument parameters include energy and angular resolution, gamma rejection, minimum source identification distances and times, and projected effective area for a fully populated instrument.


Space Science Center, Physics

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SPIE Proceedings



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Conference Proceeding


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