Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory: Findings bolster theory that quantum fluctuations drive strange electronic phenomena January 30th, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Nanopesticides January 30th, 2015

DNA nanoswitches reveal how life's molecules connect: An accessible new way to study molecular interactions could lower cost and time associated with discovering new drugs January 30th, 2015

Crystal light: New light-converting materials point to cheaper, more efficient solar power: University of Toronto engineers study first single crystal perovskites for new solar cell and LED applications January 30th, 2015

Park Systems Announces Innovations in Bio Cell Analysis with the Launch of Park NX-Bio, the only 3-in-1 Imaging Nanoscale Tool Available for Life Science Researchers January 29th, 2015

Videos/Movies

Los Alamos Develops New Technique for Growing High-Efficiency Perovskite Solar Cells: Researchers’ crystal-production insights resolve manufacturing difficulty January 29th, 2015

'Bulletproof' battery: Kevlar membrane for safer, thinner lithium rechargeables January 28th, 2015

Stomach acid-powered micromotors get their first test in a living animal January 27th, 2015

Laboratories

Nanoscale Mirrored Cavities Amplify, Connect Quantum Memories: Advance could lead to quantum computing and the secure transfer of information over long-distance fiber optic networks January 28th, 2015

New pathway to valleytronics January 27th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory: Findings bolster theory that quantum fluctuations drive strange electronic phenomena January 30th, 2015

Nanoscale Mirrored Cavities Amplify, Connect Quantum Memories: Advance could lead to quantum computing and the secure transfer of information over long-distance fiber optic networks January 28th, 2015

Detecting chemical weapons with a color-changing film January 28th, 2015

'Bulletproof' battery: Kevlar membrane for safer, thinner lithium rechargeables January 28th, 2015

Discoveries

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory: Findings bolster theory that quantum fluctuations drive strange electronic phenomena January 30th, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Nanopesticides January 30th, 2015

DNA nanoswitches reveal how life's molecules connect: An accessible new way to study molecular interactions could lower cost and time associated with discovering new drugs January 30th, 2015

Crystal light: New light-converting materials point to cheaper, more efficient solar power: University of Toronto engineers study first single crystal perovskites for new solar cell and LED applications January 30th, 2015

Announcements

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory: Findings bolster theory that quantum fluctuations drive strange electronic phenomena January 30th, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Nanopesticides January 30th, 2015

DNA nanoswitches reveal how life's molecules connect: An accessible new way to study molecular interactions could lower cost and time associated with discovering new drugs January 30th, 2015

Crystal light: New light-converting materials point to cheaper, more efficient solar power: University of Toronto engineers study first single crystal perovskites for new solar cell and LED applications January 30th, 2015

Tools

Hiden Gas Analysers at PITTCON 2015 | Visit us on Booth No. 1127 January 29th, 2015

Advantest to Exhibit at SEMICON Korea in Seoul, South Korea February 4-6 Showcasing Broad Portfolio of Semiconductor Products, Technologies and Solutions January 29th, 2015

Park Systems Announces Innovations in Bio Cell Analysis with the Launch of Park NX-Bio, the only 3-in-1 Imaging Nanoscale Tool Available for Life Science Researchers January 29th, 2015

2015 Nanonics Image Contest January 29th, 2015

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Announces New OEM Customer January 27th, 2015

Carbon nanotube finding could lead to flexible electronics with longer battery life January 14th, 2015

Liquipel Receives US Patent on Environmentally Friendly, Watersafe Treatment of Electronics: U.S. Patent Office Finds Watersafe™ Treatment Covers Cell Phones, Smart Phones, Tablets, Computers and More January 5th, 2015

New non-invasive method can detect Alzheimer's disease early: MRI probe technology shows brain toxins in living animals for first time December 22nd, 2014

Homeland Security

Detecting chemical weapons with a color-changing film January 28th, 2015

Detection of Heavy Metals in Samples with Naked Eye January 26th, 2015

Detecting gases wirelessly and cheaply: New sensor can transmit information on hazardous chemicals or food spoilage to a smartphone December 8th, 2014

Laser sniffs out toxic gases from afar: System can ID chemicals in the atmosphere from a kilometer away December 4th, 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 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE