Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Colorful light at the end of the tunnel for radiation detection: Sandia seeks commercialization partners for promising 'spectral shape discrimination' technology

Crystals of a metal organic framework (left) emit light in the blue (middle) when exposed to ionizing radiation. Infiltrating them with an organometallic compound causes the crystals to emit red light as well (right), creating a new way to differentiate fission neutrons from background gamma particles.

Credit: Sandia National Laboratories
Crystals of a metal organic framework (left) emit light in the blue (middle) when exposed to ionizing radiation. Infiltrating them with an organometallic compound causes the crystals to emit red light as well (right), creating a new way to differentiate fission neutrons from background gamma particles.

Credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Abstract:
A team of nanomaterials researchers at Sandia National Laboratories has developed a new technique for radiation detection that could make radiation detection in cargo and baggage more effective and less costly for homeland security inspectors.

Colorful light at the end of the tunnel for radiation detection: Sandia seeks commercialization partners for promising 'spectral shape discrimination' technology

Livermore, CA | Posted on June 29th, 2012

Known as spectral shape discrimination (SSD), the method takes advantage of a new class of nanoporous materials known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Researchers discovered that adding a doping agent to an MOF leads to the emission of red and blue light when the MOF interacts with high-energy particles emanated from radiological or nuclear material, enabling more effective detection of neutrons. Neutron detection is currently a costly and technically challenging endeavor due to the difficulty in distinguishing neutrons from ubiquitous background gamma rays.

Initial work on the use of MOFs for radiation detection was internally funded by Sandia's Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program, but subsequent funding for the project has come from the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation research office.

"Improving our radiation detection capabilities is crucial to advancing NNSA's nonproliferation mission," said Anne Harrington, NNSA's deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. "Preventing the illicit movement of radiological and nuclear materials around the globe supports the president's nuclear security objectives and helps to mitigate the threat of a nuclear terror attack."

The new technology works with plastic scintillators, materials that fluoresce when struck by charged particles or high-energy photons, making it suitable for commercialization by companies who produce plastic and other organic scintillators used in radiation detection devices. Though work remains before it can move into the marketplace, Sandia is currently seeking commercial partners to license the technology.

(See a video clip at www.youtube.com/SandiaLabs that shows Sandia researchers demonstrating and explaining their work.)

Current radiation detection methods are limited in terms of speed and sensitivity, crucial elements for dynamic scenarios, such as border crossings, cargo screenings and nuclear treaty verification. This new technology monitors the color of light emissions, which have the potential to make the screening process easier and more reliable.

"We are approaching the problem from a materials-chemistry perspective," said Sandia materials scientist Mark Allendorf. "Fundamentally, it is easier to monitor the color of light emissions rather than the rate at which that light is emitted. That's the crux of this new approach." Current radiation detection methods use time to discriminate between neutrons and gamma rays, requiring complex and costly electronics.

MOFs and dopants lead to more light

Allendorf and his team have been working with MOFs for more than five years. Early on, they discovered a fluorescent, porous MOF with superb scintillation properties, an important breakthrough and the first new class of scintillators found in decades. The MOF's porosity is a key feature because it allows researchers to add other materials to fine-tune the scintillation.

The MOF's nanoporosity triggered a new idea when team member Patrick Doty read about the use of dopants to increase the efficiency of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). These dopants, usually compounds containing heavy metals such as iridium, dramatically increase OLED brightness by "scavenging" the excited-state energy in the device that was not converted to light. This energy represents as much as 75 percent of the possible light output.

Combining MOFs with OLED dopants led to a second breakthrough. By filling MOF pores with dopants, the team created a material that not only produces more light, but light of another color. Doty, a materials scientist working in Sandia's radiation/nuclear detection materials and analysis department, hypothesized that the discovery could be applied to radiation detection.

The trick, Doty said, is to add just the right amount of dopant so that both the scavenged light and fluorescence from the excited MOF itself are emitted. Then the ratio of the intensities at the two wavelengths is a function of the type of high-energy particle interacting with the material. "That's the critical thing," Doty said. "SSD allows one particle type to be distinguished from another on the basis of the color of the emitted light."

Because the ratio of neutrons to gamma rays is so low — on the order of one neutron to 105 gamma rays — the threshold at which current detectors can see neutrons is fairly high. Sandia calculations suggest that the threshold for detecting neutrons produced by fissionable material could be lowered substantially using SSD, perhaps improving the "figure of merit" by a factor of 10 compared to the current standards. "In principle, we could quadruple the sensitivity of the gold standard," said Allendorf.

SSD also addresses another radiation detection problem — active interrogation. Using an active source to create a signal from special nuclear material is an effective means for detection, say Sandia researchers. But current detectors are often overwhelmed by the onslaught of gamma rays. The new materials developed at Sandia can be tuned for improved timing performance at high rates, and the new technology also could be used in radiation detectors for treaty verification.

####

About DOE/Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Mike Janes

925-294-2447

Copyright © DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Iran to Hold 3rd Int'l Engineering Materials, Metallurgy Conference October 25th, 2014

Haydale Secures Exclusive Development and Supply Agreement with Tantec A/S: New reactors to be built and commissioned by Tantec A/S represent another step forward towards the commercialisation of graphene October 24th, 2014

QuantumWise guides the semiconductor industry towards the atomic scale October 24th, 2014

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Invites the Public to Attend its Popular Statewide 'NANOvember' Series of Outreach and Educational Events October 23rd, 2014

Laboratories

National Synchrotron Light Source II Achieves 'First Light' October 23rd, 2014

Novel Rocket Design Flight Tested: New Rocket Propellant and Motor Design Offers High Performance and Safety October 23rd, 2014

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

Videos/Movies

Novel Rocket Design Flight Tested: New Rocket Propellant and Motor Design Offers High Performance and Safety October 23rd, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Novel Rocket Design Flight Tested: New Rocket Propellant and Motor Design Offers High Performance and Safety October 23rd, 2014

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

Brookhaven Lab Launches Computational Science Initiative:Leveraging computational science expertise and investments across the Laboratory to tackle "big data" challenges October 22nd, 2014

Bipolar Disorder Discovery at the Nano Level: Tiny structures found in brain synapses help scientists better understand disorder October 22nd, 2014

Discoveries

QuantumWise guides the semiconductor industry towards the atomic scale October 24th, 2014

Iranian, Malaysian Scientists Study Nanophotocatalysts for Water Purification October 23rd, 2014

Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas October 23rd, 2014

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

Announcements

Iran to Hold 3rd Int'l Engineering Materials, Metallurgy Conference October 25th, 2014

Haydale Secures Exclusive Development and Supply Agreement with Tantec A/S: New reactors to be built and commissioned by Tantec A/S represent another step forward towards the commercialisation of graphene October 24th, 2014

QuantumWise guides the semiconductor industry towards the atomic scale October 24th, 2014

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

Tools

Haydale Secures Exclusive Development and Supply Agreement with Tantec A/S: New reactors to be built and commissioned by Tantec A/S represent another step forward towards the commercialisation of graphene October 24th, 2014

National Synchrotron Light Source II Achieves 'First Light' October 23rd, 2014

Advancing thin film research with nanostructured AZO: Innovnano’s unique and cost-effective AZO sputtering targets for the production of transparent conducting oxides October 23rd, 2014

NIST offers electronics industry 2 ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules October 22nd, 2014

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Nanodevices for clinical diagnostic with potential for the international market: The development is based on optical principles and provides precision and allows saving vital time for the patient October 15th, 2014

Aculon Receives Patent for Application of Enhanced Bonding Layers on Titanium October 9th, 2014

harmaEngine will join Nanobiotix’ pivotal trial for NBTXR3 in Soft Tissue Sarcoma to accelerate its development in Asia-Pacific: PharmaEngine to make milestone payment to Nanobiotix in October 2014 to recognize the value created October 8th, 2014

Homeland Security

NanoTechnology for Defense (NT4D) October 22nd, 2014

UT Arlington researchers develop transparent nanoscintillators for radiation detection for medical safety and homeland security September 29th, 2014

Seeking Nanoscale Defenses for Biological and Chemical Threats: WPI co-organizes a NATO workshop to improve the detection and decontamination of biological and chemical agents September 13th, 2014

Watching Schrödinger's cat die (or come to life): Steering quantum evolution & using probes to conduct continuous error correction in quantum computers July 30th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE





  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE