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Abstract: The development of a portable, thermal neutron detection system for nuclear monitoring is described. The report outlines the design, development, fabrication and testing of a prototype directional thermal neutron detector. The system is a battery powered unit that contains 12 detector modules. Each module consists of a thin gadolinium foil convertor layer sandwiched between two planar, large area, quad silicon detectors and the associated analog electronics to process the 8 detector channels for each module. Two additional modules contain a tantalum convertor foil used for compensation of the gamma ray response. The digital electronics uses gate arrays as counters which are read and controlled by a microcontroller unit. Neutron and gamma ray count rates and directional indicator quotients are displayed to determine the presence and direction of the radiation source. Design criteria, operational features and system test results are reported along with recommendations for system designs based on this technology.
This document is linked to the Vela incident: