Novel high-efficiency fast-neutron detectors were suggested for fan-beam tomography applications. They combine multi-layer polymer converters in gas medium, coupled to thick gaseous electron multipliers (THGEM). Neutron-induced scattering on the converter's hydrogen nuclei results in gas ionization by the escaping recoil-protons between two successive converters. The electrons drift under the action of a homogeneous electric field, parallel to the converter-foil surfaces, towards a position-sensitive THGEM multiplying element. In this work we discuss the results of a systematic study of the electron transport inside a narrow gap between successive converter foils, which affects the performance of the detector, both in terms of detection efficiency and localization properties. The efficiency of transporting ionization electrons was measured along a 0.6 mm wide gas gap in 6 and 10 mm wide polymer converters. Computer simulations provided conceptual understanding of the observations. For drift lengths of 6 mm, electrons were efficiently transported along the narrow gas gap with minimal diffusion-induced losses; an average collection efficiency of 95% was achieved for ionization electrons induced by few keV photoelectrons. The 10 mm height converter yielded considerably lower efficiency due to electrical and mechanical flaws of the converter foils. The results indicate that detection efficiencies of ∼ 7% can be expected for 2.5 MeV neutrons with 300-foils converters, of 6 mm height, 0.4 mm thick foils and 0.6 mm gas gap.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Mathematical Physics