Multi Chamber Gas Proportional Counter for Screening Ultra-Low Background Materials and Identifying Radioactive Contaminants

Period of Performance: 01/01/2007 - 12/31/2007

$749K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Reeves & Sons, LLC
2000 Logston Boulevard, #133
Richland, WA 99354
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Texas A&M University
400 Harvey Mitchell Pkwy South Suite 300, 3578 TAMUS
College Station, TX 77845
Institution POC

Abstract

No radiation detector currently in existence has the sensitivity to measure or identify radioactive contaminants at the extremely low levels required for planned high energy physics experiments and other applications. A device that can detect one micro bq per kilogram of material is needed. This project will address this need by developing a multi-chamber gas-proportional counter with many parallel plates. The plates, constructed from many kilograms of sample material(s), will be tested and placed inside a massive lead/copper shield. This shield, which will be located deep underground, will contain multiple layers of plastic scintillator integrated within it. In Phase I, several techniques will be evaluated and a prototype multi-chamber gas-proportional counter will be designed, constructed, and tested. Based on the results, a large detector, capable of providing the required sensitivity, will be designed. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the Applicant: In additon to the scientific research applications, the technology should benefit commercial producers of lead and other materials, who need more sensitive radiation counting systems to meet the low background requirements of the microchip industry.