Development and testing of liquid to solid scintillating neutron detectors
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The purpose of this research is to determine the feasibility of creating an affordable and durable neutron detector for usage in the field surveys, site inspections, and transportation hub monitoring. Currently, organic scintillating detectors are an established method of detecting neutrons but are either costly, fragile solids like stilbene, or flammable liquids like benzene. In this work, several scintillation mixtures were tested with a PuBe source, which emits both neutrons and gamma rays. The pulse shape discrimination method was utilized to separate the signal pulses created from the mixed radiation field of the PuBe source. Two candidate mixtures were selected for solidification with elastomers for their verified neutron detection capabilities. The solid detectors measured high energy neutrons and gamma rays from the PuBe source. The solidified detectors have a Figure of Merit for separating neutrons of 0.859 ±0.419 and cost $0.13 per gram, while commercially available stilbene separates neutrons from gammas with a Figure of Merit of 4.70 and costs $64.36 per gram. This research shows that it is feasible to create affordable solid organic scintillators sensitive to high energy neutrons.