Instrumentation for Multiple Radiation Detection Based On Novel Mercurous Halides for Nuclear Planetology

Period of Performance: 09/20/2016 - 09/19/2018

$750K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Brimrose Corporation of America
P.O. Box 616 Array
Sparks, MD 21152
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Fisk University
Physics Department
Nashville, TN 37208
Institution POC

Abstract

Radiation detectors that sense gamma and neutron radiation are critical to the exploration of planetary surface composition. Among the key technological challenges is to have a suitable detector that not only can be used for both gamma ray and neutron detection, but also satisfy the many highly desirable and essential for spaceflight properties: good energy resolution, high efficiency, high radiation tolerance, low power consumption, low volume, low weight and operation without cryogenic cooling. We propose a room temperature semiconductor detector (RTSD) using a single material that can detect both gamma radiation and neutron particles. The novel materials we propose are mercurous halides, Hg2X2 (X=Cl, Br) - mercurous chloride (Hg2Cl2) and mercurous bromide (Hg2Br2). The development of these spectroscopy grade mercury halide-based radiation detectors are especially relevant to future NASA missions to any solid body in the solar system, including the Moon, terrestrial planets, asteroids, comets, and the moons of the other planets. Our goal is to deliver a breakthrough in detector technology that can lead to spectrometers that are capable of performing both gamma and neutron spectroscopy.