A semiconductor-based neutron detection system for planetary exploration


We explore the use of microstructured semiconductor neutron detectors (MSNDs) to map the ratio between thermal neutrons and higher energy neutrons. The system consists of alternating layers of modular neutron detectors (MNDs), each comprising arrays of twenty-four MSNDs, and high-density polyethylene moderators (HDPE) with gadolinium shielding to filter between thermal neutrons and higher energy neutrons. We experimentally measured the performance of three different configurations and demonstrated that the sensor system prototypes detect and differentiate thermal and epithermal neutrons. We discuss future planetary exploration applications of this compact, semiconductor-based low-energy neutron detection system.

Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Alejandro Soto
Alejandro Soto
Senior Research Scientist

I am a planetary scientist and aerospace engineer.