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Boron-loaded Polymeric Sensor for the Direct Detection of Thermal Neutrons

Chatzispyroglou, Prodromos, Keddie, Joseph L. and Sellin, Paul J. (2020) Boron-loaded Polymeric Sensor for the Direct Detection of Thermal Neutrons ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 12 (29). pp. 33050-33057.

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We report the first demonstration of a solid-state, direct-conversion sensor for thermal neutrons based on a polymer/inorganic nanocomposite. Sensors were fabricated from ultra-thick films of poly(triarylamine) (PTAA) semiconducting polymer, with thicknesses up to 100 μm. Boron nanoparticles were dispersed throughout the PTAA film to provide the neutron stopping power arising from the high thermal neutron cross-section of the isotope Boron-10. To maximize the quantum efficiency of the sensor to thermal neutrons, a high volume fraction of homogeneously dispersed boron nanoparticles was achieved in the thick PTAA film using an optimized processing method. Thick active layers were realized using a high molecular weight of the PTAA so that molecular entanglements provide a high cohesive strength. A non-ionic surfactant was used to stabilize the boron dispersion in solvent and hence suppress the formation of agglomerates and associated electrical pathways. Boron nanoparticle loadings of up to ten volume percent were achieved, with thermal neutron quantum efficiency estimates up to 6% resulting. The sensors' neutron responses were characterized under a high flux thermal neutron exposure, showing a linear correlation between the response current and the thermal neutron flux. Polymer-based boron nanocomposite sensors offer a new neutron detection technology that uses low-cost, scalable solution processing, and provides an alternative to traditional neutron sensors that use rare isotopes, such as Helium-3.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Physics
Authors :
Chatzispyroglou, Prodromos
Keddie, Joseph
Sellin, Paul J.
Date : 26 June 2020
Funders : STFC, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), EPSRC MiNMaT Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Surrey
DOI : 10.1021/acsami.0c09998
Grant Title : EPSRC Grant
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society
Additional Information : Embargo OK Metadata OK No Further Action
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 01 Jul 2020 10:22
Last Modified : 03 Aug 2020 15:11

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