Evaluation of a Positron-Emission-Tomography-based SiPM readout for Compact Segmented Neutron Imagers [article]

Viacheslav A. Li, Felicia Sutanto, Timothy M. Classen, Steven A. Dazeley, Igor Jovanovic, Tingshiuan C. Wu
2022 arXiv   pre-print
Gamma-ray emission from special nuclear material (SNM) is relatively easy to shield from detection using modest amounts of high-Z material. In contrast, fast-neutrons are much more penetrating and can escape relatively thick high-Z shielding without losing significant energy. Furthermore, fast neutrons provide a clear and unambiguous signature of the presence of SNM with few competing natural background sources. The challenge of detecting fast neutrons is twofold. First, the neutron flux from
more » ... M are only a fraction of the corresponding gamma-ray flux. Second, fast neutrons can be difficult to differentiate from gamma rays. The ability to discriminate gamma rays from neutrons combined with neutron imaging can yield large benefit to isolate the localized SNM neutron source from background. With the recent developments of pulse-shape-sensitive plastic scintillators that offer excellent gamma-ray/neutron discrimination, and arrays of silicon photomultipliers combined with highly scalable and fast positron-emission-tomography (PET) multi-channel readout systems, field-deployable neutron imagers suitable for SNM detection might now be within reach. In this paper, we present a characterization of the performance of a recently available commercial PET-scanner readout, including its sensitivity to pulse-shape differences between fast neutrons and gamma rays, energy and timing resolution, as well as linearity and dynamic range. We find that, while the pulse-shape discrimination is achievable with stilbene, further improvement of the readout is required to achieve it with the best available plastic scintillators. The time and energy resolution appear to be adequate for neutron imaging in some circumstances.
arXiv:2202.07759v1 fatcat:l7vnmlmmnbervhr46iuf5uz4mq