Kansas State University engineers have developed a lithium-based neutron detector that is being recognized as one of the year's Top 100 newly developed technologies.
R&D Magazine is recognizing Douglas McGregor, professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, and his research team with a 2014 R&D 100 Award. The award recognizes the year's 100 most significant high-technology new products.
The university-developed lithium-based neutron detector, called the Li-Foil Neutron Detector, can be used for medical imaging, national security, scientific research, oil well logging and the automotive industry.
"We are honored to receive this international recognition for the collaborative efforts of students, faculty and researchers on our team," McGregor said. "All of the members of our team have worked very hard to advance this technology and take it to a whole new level. We continue to improve it and develop newer models."
An R&D 100 Award signifies that a product has merit as one of the most innovative new ideas of the year, nationally and internationally, and is recognized as a mark of excellence by national laboratories, universities, industrial companies and government agencies. The award honors technology developments that are designed to meet current or future societal, scientific or business challenges.
Researchers in McGregor's Semiconductor Materials and Radiological Technologies Laboratory, or SMART Laboratory, created the Li-Foil neutron detector. Other researchers involved include Kyle Nelson, research associate in mechanical and nuclear engineering; Steven Bellinger, research associate in mechanical and nuclear engineering; Niklas Hinson, recent bachelor's graduate in mechanical engineering, Goddard; and Benjamin Montag, doctoral student in nuclear engineering, Manhattan.
Nelson, who worked on the research for his doctoral project, created the neutron detector by stacking very thin sheets of lithium foil between multiple electrodes. Lithium-based neutron detectors are more cost-effective than helium-3 based neutron detectors.
"The relatively low cost of the detector is a direct result of the advancements in lithium foil manufacturing in the lithium battery industry," Nelson said.
Helium-3 is often used in neutron-based technology, but is rare and expensive, McGregor said. Lithium-6 is a metal that is highly reactive with neutrons and Kansas State University researchers have shown that it is a good alternative for neutron detection.
As a result, the lithium-based detector has several different applications, including stationary detectors that can be used at U.S. ports of entry, mobile backpack neutron detectors, and handheld devices.
"Our lithium-based technology seems to solve many of the problems in neutron detection," Nelson said. "Because lithium is less expensive, we have the capability to make some of the stationary detectors as big as bookshelves, which can help the detectors be even more accurate."
Bellinger, who founded the Manhattan-based start-up company called Radiation Detection Technologies Inc., is helping with the commercialization of the neutron detector. Saint Gobain Corp. also is helping to commercialize the technology.
The engineers have one patent on the research, with another patent pending, and continue to improve the technology behind the neutron detectors. Their work has been supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Jennifer Torline Tidball
Jennifer Torline Tidball | newswise
New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight
16.08.2017 | American Institute of Physics
Tracking a solar eruption through the solar system
16.08.2017 | American Geophysical Union
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research