Real-time capabilities of a digital analyzer for mixed-field assay using scintillation detectors

Aspinall, M.D., Joyce, M.J., Lavietes, A., Plenteda, R., Cave, F.D., Parker, H., Jones, A. and Astromskas, V. (2017). Real-time capabilities of a digital analyzer for mixed-field assay using scintillation detectors. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, 64 (3), pp. 945-950.


Scintillation detectors offer a single-step detection method for fast neutrons and necessitate real-time acquisition, whereas this is redundant in two-stage thermal detection systems using helium-3 and lithium-6, where the fast neutrons need to be thermalized prior to detection. The relative affordability of scintillation detectors and the associated fast digital acquisition systems have enabled entirely new measurement setups that can consist of sizeable detector arrays. These detectors in most cases rely on photomultiplier tubes, which have significant tolerances and result in variations in detector response functions. The detector tolerances and other environmental instabilities must be accounted for in measurements that depend on matched detector performance. This paper presents recent advances made to a high-speed FPGA-based digitizer. The technology described offers a complete solution for fast-neutron scintillation detectors by integrating multichannel high-speed data acquisition technology with dedicated detector high-voltage supplies. This configuration has significant advantages for large detector arrays that require uniform detector responses. We report on bespoke control software and firmware techniques that exploit real-time functionality to reduce setup and acquisition time, increase repeatability, and reduce statistical uncertainties.

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Divisions: Life & Health Sciences
Life & Health Sciences > Ophthalmic Research Group
Additional Information: © 2017 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works. Funding: EPSRC (EP/L025671/1); and Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award
Uncontrolled Keywords: coincidence techniques,data acquisition systems,detector instrumentation,digital signal processing,neutron imaging,neutron spectroscopy,neutrons,real-time systems,scintillation detectors,Nuclear and High Energy Physics,Nuclear Energy and Engineering,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
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Published Date: 2017-03
Authors: Aspinall, M.D.
Joyce, M.J.
Lavietes, A.
Plenteda, R.
Cave, F.D.
Parker, H.
Jones, A.
Astromskas, V.



Version: Accepted Version

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