R&D 100 Award for Developing a Novel Radiation Detector

Jul 19, 2005

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, Kansas State University and Yinnel Tech, Inc., of South Bend, Indiana, have won a 2005 R&D 100 Award for developing a highly efficient, low-cost radiation detector. The detector can be used for homeland security applications, nuclear medical imaging, environmental monitoring and cleanup, galactic events studies, and nuclear-weapons safeguards.

R&D Magazine gives R&D 100 Awards annually to the top 100 technological achievements of the year. Typically, these are innovations that transform basic science into useful products. The awards will be presented in Chicago on October 20.

“This award demonstrates that DOE scientists and researchers are hard at work developing the technologies of the future,” said Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman. “In the past, breakthroughs like this one have played an important role in both our economic and national security.”

Douglas McGregor of Kansas State University designed the radiation detector, called a cadmium-zinc-telluride Frisch-ring detector, and Brookhaven Lab researchers Aleksey Bolotnikov, Gomez Wright, Gabriella Carini, Giuseppe Camarda and Ralph James built the prototype using the semiconductor alloy, a polymer, and metal rings. The small, portable detector, which measures about one-half inch long by one-quarter inch wide, detects both x-rays and gamma rays with high resolution, and it can identify the specific source of radiation. Unlike most detectors of its type, which have to be chilled, this novel detector can be used at room temperature. Also, its performance is highly reliable with minimal maintenance.

“While other cadmium-zinc-telluride detectors are commercially available, they are more expensive and not as sensitive as the one we developed,” Brookhaven’s Aleksey Bolotnikov said. “The detector includes a layer of polymer and metal rings, called Frisch-rings, that act as an electrostatic shield for the sensitive crystals inside it. This shielding prevents holes — positively charged particles that are created by x-rays and gamma rays — from degrading the detector’s sensitivity.”

The detector’s innovative design, coupled with Brookhaven’s patented process for fabricating the detector’s surfaces, enables it to be versatile as well as extremely sensitive. It can be assembled into an array of detectors that can produce high-quality images of radioactive sources distributed over a wide area.

Funding for the development of the award-winning detector came from Brookhaven’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. While Yinnel Tech, Inc. has marketed the detector, its design and the technology of its fabrication are available for licensing to other companies.

Source: Brookhaven National Laboratory

Explore further: New terahertz device could strengthen security

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New high-resolution X-ray spectrometer for beam lines

Oct 28, 2014

NIST scientists have pioneered a technology that may speed the arrival of long-awaited materials and devices including advanced high-temperature superconductors and high-efficiency photovoltaic cells: A new ...

Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions

Oct 21, 2014

Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes a new paper ...

Cold Atom Laboratory creates atomic dance

Oct 20, 2014

Like dancers in a chorus line, atoms' movements become synchronized when lowered to extremely cold temperatures. To study this bizarre phenomenon, called a Bose-Einstein condensate, researchers need to cool ...

Superconducting circuits, simplified

Oct 17, 2014

Computer chips with superconducting circuits—circuits with zero electrical resistance—would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips, an attractive trait given the increasing power consumption ...

Scientific instruments of Rosetta's Philae lander

Sep 23, 2014

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make ...

Recommended for you

New terahertz device could strengthen security

8 hours ago

We are all familiar with the hassles that accompany air travel. We shuffle through long lines, remove our shoes, and carry liquids in regulation-sized tubes. And even after all the effort, we still wonder if these procedures ...

CERN makes public first data of LHC experiments

12 hours ago

CERN today launched its Open Data Portal where data from real collision events, produced by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will for the first time be made openly available to all. It is expected ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.