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Design and Optimisation of a Three Layers Thermal Neutron, Fast Neutron and Gamma-Ray Imaging System

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Abstract

The design and configuration of a multi-layered imaging system with the ability to detect thermal neutrons, fast neutrons and gamma rays has been developed and its efficacy demonstrated. The work presented here numerically determines the systems efficiency and spatial resolution, using 252Cf and 137Cs as a case study. The novelty of this detection system lies in the use of small form factor detectors in a three-layer design, which utilises neutron elastic scattering and Compton scattering simultaneously. The current configuration consists of 10 mm thick natural lithium glass (GS10) scintillator integrated with a 20 mm thick plastic scintillator (EJ-204) in the first layer, a 15 mm thick lithium glass (GS10) scintillator in the second and a 30 mm thick CsI(Tl) scintillator forming the final layer. Each of these layers is backed with an 8 x 8 silicon photomultiplier diode (SiPM) array. The overall size of the imaging system is 27 mm x 27 mm x 135 mm. MCNPv6.1 and Geant4-10.04 were alternatively used to optimise the overall configuration and to investigate detection modalities. Results show promising performance with high precision source localisation and characterization abilities. Measurements were virtually obtained of two gamma-ray sources within steel enclosures at angles of 15o, 30o and 50o separation in order to test spatial resolution ability of the system. With the current active size of the system and the 8x8 SiPM configuration, the results estimate the spatial resolution to be close to 30o. The ability of the system to characterise and identify sources based on the type and energy of the radiation emitted, has been investigated and results show that for all radiation types the system can identify the source energy within the energy range of typical reported sources in literature.