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Nuclear Weapon Detection by a Tiny Wafer?

Paraphrased by: Brett Wilkins

At the Argonne National Laboratory, Raymond Klann is incharge of a project based around a tiny gallium arsenide wafer. When the wafer is coated with boron or lithium it can detect neutrons emitted by the fissile substance that fuels nuclear weapons. When perfected, this device can aid international inspectors in the locating and disarming of nuclear weapons and materials. The device operates at room temperature and only requires 50 volts to power it. Also, the wafer can withstand relatively high radiation fields and it doesn't degrade over time. The most essential part of the operation is the coating of the wafer. When neutrons strike it an easily detectable cascade of charged particles is produced. The applications can be specified by the type and thickness of coating. Cylindrical holes drilled into the wafers have proven to increase the sensitivity of the detectors says researchers. Experimenting with various hole combinations and sizes mixed with various coatings are taking place.


For More Information contact:
Raymond Klann
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne, IL
Phone: (630) 252-4305