Semiconductor polycrystalline alpha detectors

M. Schieber, M. Roth, A. Zuck, G. Marom, O. Khakhan, Z. B. Alfassi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In order to check possible novel neutron detectors based on composite semiconductor detectors containing nuclides with large cross sections for neutron, we tested their response to alpha particles. In the present paper we describe results obtained with composite samples made of hexagonal Boron Nitride particles bound with Polystyrene or Nylon-6. The samples were tested under 5.5 MeV alpha particle radiation emitted from 241Am source and 4.8MeV alpha particle of 226Ra source. Some of the responses of these composite detectors to thermal neutrons were already reported and here we shall show some newer results obtained with thermal neutrons, from a low intensity 241Am - 9Be and also from a medium intensity 252Cf source, which were thermalized using 10 cm thick paraffin. The Alpha detection experiments show that all the tested samples, regardless of the binder, show a well-defined peak around the 270 energy channel. There was very little polarization of the alpha radiation, since the amplitude of the alpha peak is reduced after ∼ 2min from start of the irradiation, from 100% to 95% and it stayed stable at this level for another 10 minutes. The alpha spectrum detected from a PbI2 single crystal is also shown for comparison. The neutron spectrum obtained by the composite BN samples showed an apparent peak around the 150 energy channel. The Signal to noise ratio for neutron detection from radionuclide shown here is about 2 only, whereas recent results to be published later, obtained with our composite BN detectors from a neutron beam of about 107 sec-1cm-2 is ∼2 5 The 1.4 and 1.7 MeV alpha peaks resulting from the nuclear reaction of thermal neutrons with 10B of the boron nitride detector are not buried in the noise range. The capacitance noise requires small contact areas, therefore for large area detectors it is necessary to produce an electronic read-out device which can add up a multitude of small (less than pixilated contacts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHard X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Detector Physics and Penetrating Radiation Systems VIII
StatePublished - 13 Nov 2006
EventHard X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Detector Physics and Penetrating Radiation Systems VIII - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 14 Aug 200617 Aug 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceHard X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Detector Physics and Penetrating Radiation Systems VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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