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Compensated gadolinium-loaded plastic scintillators for thermal neutron detection and counting

J. Dumazert 1 R. Coulon 1 G.H.V. Bertrand 1 M. Hamel 1 Fabien Sguerra 1 C. Dehé-Pittance 1 S. Normand 1 Laurence Méchin 2
1 LCAE - Laboratoire Capteurs et Architectures Electroniques
DM2I - Département Métrologie Instrumentation & Information : DRT/LIST/DM2I
2 Equipe Electronique - Laboratoire GREYC - UMR6072
GREYC - Groupe de Recherche en Informatique, Image, Automatique et Instrumentation de Caen
Abstract : Plastic, scintillator loading with gadolinium-rich organometallic complexes shows a high potential for the deployment of efficient and cost-effective neutron detectors. Due to the low-energy photon and electron signature of thermal neutron capture by gadolinium-155 and gadolinium-157, alternative treatment to Pulse Shape Discrimination has to be proposed in order to display a trustable count rate. This paper discloses the principle of a compensation method applied to a two-scintillator system: a detection scintillator interacts with photon radiation and is loaded with gadolinium organometallic compound to become a thermal neutron absorber, while a non-gadolinium loaded compensation scintillator solely interacts with the photon part of the incident radiation. Posterior to the nonlinear smoothing of the counting signals, a hypothesis test determines whether the resulting count rate after photon response compensation falls into statistical fluctuations or provides a robust image of neutron activity. A laboratory prototype is tested under both photon and neutron irradiations, allowing us to investigate the performance of the overall compensation system in terms of neutron detection, especially with regards to a commercial helium-3 counter. The study reveals satisfactory results in terms of sensitivity and orientates future investigation toward promising axes.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 8:25:04 AM
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J. Dumazert, R. Coulon, G.H.V. Bertrand, M. Hamel, Fabien Sguerra, et al.. Compensated gadolinium-loaded plastic scintillators for thermal neutron detection and counting. 2015 4th International Conference on Advancements in Nuclear Instrumentation Measurement Methods and their Applications (ANIMMA), Apr 2015, Lisbon, Portugal. pp.7465523, ⟨10.1109/ANIMMA.2015.7465523⟩. ⟨cea-01823371⟩



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