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Proceedings Paper

Thermal neutron detectors based on hexagonal boron nitride epilayers
Author(s): T. C. Doan; A. Marty; J. Li; J. Y. Lin; H. X. Jiang
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Paper Abstract

Solid-state neutron detectors with high performances are urgently sought after for the detection of fissile materials. Until now, direct-conversion neutron detectors based on semiconductors with a measureable efficiency have not been realized. We have successfully synthesized hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) epilayers with varying thicknesses (0.3 μm – 50 μm) by metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) on sapphire substrates. In this paper, we present the detailed characterization of thermal neutron detectors fabricated from h-BN epilayers with a thickness up to 5 m to obtain insights into the h-BN epilayer thickness dependence of the device performance. The results revealed that the charge collection efficiency is almost independent of the h-BN epilayer thickness. By minimizing h-BN material removal by dry etching, it was shown that detectors incorporating an isotopically 10B-enriched h-BN epilayer of 2.7 μm in thickness exhibited an overall detection efficiency for thermal neutrons of 4% and a charge collection efficiency as high as 83%. By doing away altogether with dry etching, we have successfully realized a simple vertical 43 μm thick h-10BN detector which delivers a detection efficiency of 51.4% for thermal neutrons, which is the highest reported efficiency for any semiconductor-based neutron detector The h-BN detectors possess all the advantages of semiconductor devices including low cost, high efficiency and sensitivity, wafer-scale processing, compact size, light weight, and ability to integrate with other functional devices.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 September 2016
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9968, Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics XVIII, 99680S (9 September 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2239079
Show Author Affiliations
T. C. Doan, Texas Tech Univ. (United States)
A. Marty, Texas Tech Univ. (United States)
J. Li, Texas Tech Univ. (United States)
J. Y. Lin, Texas Tech Univ. (United States)
H. X. Jiang, Texas Tech Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9968:
Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics XVIII
Ralph B. James; Michael Fiederle; Arnold Burger; Larry Franks, Editor(s)

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