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A Comparison of Fast Inorganic Scintillators for Thermal Neutron Analysis Landmine Detection

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6 Author(s)
McFee, J.E. ; Defence R&D Canada-Suffield, Medicine Hat, AB ; Faust, A.A. ; Andrews, H.R. ; Kovaltchouk, V.
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The Improved Landmine Detector System, a militarily fielded, teleoperated vehicle-mounted multi-sensor landmine detector, uses a thermal neutron analysis (TNA) detector to confirm the presence of a mine by detecting the bulk nitrogen in its explosives. To improve the nitrogen sensitivity or measurement times of the TNA detector, higher gamma ray rates will be required. The chief bottleneck to achieving the maximum possible performance from the present TNA or future versions is the relatively slow fluorescent decay time of the NaI(Tl) scintillators which are currently used. An experimental investigation was undertaken to compare a number of modern, fast inorganic scintillators to NaI(Tl) with respect to parameters relevant to TNA landmine detection, including efficiency, energy resolution, linearity, available size and cost. This paper presents results in the context of the high-rate, high-gamma-energy environments expected in such a TNA application. Large (7.62 cm times 7.62 cm) LaBr3:Ce scintillators, and to a lesser degree LaCl3:Ce, were found to stand-out as as the principal candidates for the detector upgrade to the TNA confirmation system. Their properties also make them ideal candidates for fast neutron analysis and associated particle imaging bulk explosives detectors.

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Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 3 )