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Nuclear Radiation Sensors

Nuclear Radiation Sensor Technology Overview

Nuclear Radiation Sensor Technology Overview chart graphic sensing mechanisms sensor devices sensor systems measurement and control systems

The development bubble chart represents the range of PNNL capabilities and activities and covers the span from underlying science to the engineering developments required to deliver devices, instruments, and systems. Staff working in the application environment (i.e. delivering engineered solutions) are most commonly exposed to the client's upcoming sensor needs and interests. At the same time, the existence of an integrated technology development team facilitates the transfer of information to staff working on the development or improvement of appropriate sensing mechanisms and devices.

Sensing/Interaction Mechanisms: Fundamental mechanisms and interactions that allow detection and measurement of nuclear/ionizing radiation (e.g., free carrier generation in materials, optical scintillation, optically active defect creation in detectors, etc.).

Sensing Mechanism Capabilities

Sensor Devices: A device that can detect and measure a specific type/energy of nuclear or ionizing radiation. The sensor will rely on one or more sensing mechanisms and produce a signal that indicates the nuclear/ionizing radiation value.

  • Types of nuclear or ionizing radiation sensors developed at PNNL include: fiber optic sensors, in-situ radiation therapy sensors, low background detectors, ultra-sensitive, large area neutron detectors, personal dosimetry sensors, etc.
  • In addition, PNNL develops unique/specialized sensors for clients when suitable sensors are not available to meet a client's demanding requirements.
  • Sensors for dosimetry, radiation detection and measurement, and non-destructive assay.

Sensor Systems: Typically a sensor with associated components (frequently electronics and user input/output devices) that can convert the sensor's raw signal to usable information on a target nuclear/ionizing radiation (e.g., gamma field strength, alpha decay rate, etc.). These may be stand alone instruments or a sensor module for incorporation in a more comprehensive system.

Measurement and Control Systems: Integrated systems developed to meet specific client application requirements that can include: single or multiple sensors; signal processing and data analysis functions; data monitoring and recording; and control functions.

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