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Silicon Photomultipliers for Compact Neutron Scatter Cameras

dc.contributor.authorRuch, Marc
dc.description.abstractThe ability to locate and identify special nuclear material (SNM) is critical for treaty verification and emergency response applications. SNM is used as the nuclear explosive in a nuclear weapon. This material emits neutrons, either spontaneously or when interrogated. The ability to form an image of the neutron source can be used for characterization and/or to confirm that the item is a weapon by determining whether its shape is consistent with that of a weapon. Additionally, treaty verification and emergency response applications might not be conducive to non-portable instruments. In future weapons treaties, for example, it is unlikely that host countries will make great efforts to facilitate large, bulky, and/or fragile inspection equipment. Furthermore, inspectors and especially emergency responders may need to access locations not easily approachable by vehicles. Therefore, there is a considerable need for a compact, human-portable neutron imaging system. Of the currently available neutron imaging technologies, only neutron scatter cameras (NSCs) can be made truly compact because aperture-based imagers, and time-encoded imagers, rely on large amounts of materials to modulate the neutron signal. NSCs, in contrast, can be made very small because most of the volume of the imager can be filled with active detector material. Also, unlike other neutron imaging technologies, NSCs have the inherent ability to act as neutron spectrometers which gives them an additional means of identifying a neutron source. Until recently, NSCs have relied on photomultiplier tubes (PMT) readouts, which are bulky and fragile, require high voltage, and are very sensitive to magnetic fields. Silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) do not suffer from these drawbacks and are comparable to PMTs in many respects such as gain, and cost with better time resolution. Historically, SiPMs have been too noisy for these applications; however, recent advancements have greatly reduced this issue and they have now been shown to be viable alternatives to PMTs for neutron detection applications. In this thesis, the development of a handheld NSC based on SiPMs coupled to stilbene bars is presented. An algorithm for performing image reconstruction with this type of device is detailed. Prototype design optimization is achieved using a series of simulations and the construction of the optimized prototype is described. The device is calibrated through a series of collimated measurements, backscatter-gated measurements, and a time-of-flight measurement. Experimental imaging and spectroscopic results are presented for a measurement of a Cf-252 spontaneous fission source. Simulated detector response, based on measurements performed with components of the design, demonstrates that fission sources of different sizes would be distinguishable. Notably, a significant quantity of plutonium can be confidently distinguished from a point neutron source.
dc.subjectneutron scatter camera
dc.subjectsilicon photomultipliers
dc.titleSilicon Photomultipliers for Compact Neutron Scatter Cameras
dc.description.thesisdegreedisciplineNuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantorUniversity of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies
dc.contributor.committeememberPozzi, Sara A
dc.contributor.committeememberPhillips, Jamie Dean
dc.contributor.committeememberFlaska, Marek
dc.contributor.committeememberMarleau, Peter
dc.contributor.committeememberWehe, David K
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevelNuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
dc.identifier.orcid0000-0002-3704-9348, Marc; 0000-0002-3704-9348en_US
dc.owningcollnameDissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)

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