Development of scintillation neutron detectors
01 Oct 2012



This work will focus on the development of scintillation detectors for neutron detection.




This work will focus on the development of scintillation detectors for neutron detection. At ISIS the properties of any given detector have to be carefully matched to the differing needs of the neutron and muon instruments they serve. The detection efficiency, the scintillation efficiency, the light collection efficiency all need to be carefully optimised to meet the requirements of particular instruments.

This placement will involve the optimisation of wavelength shifting fibre detector technology, for use in large area neutron detectors for future ISIS spectrometer upgrades. Large area neutron detector arrays for spectrometers have been constructed in the past using gas tubes filled with 3He. Since 3He is not available anymore in sufficient quantities for such large arrays, alternative technologies have to be developed. At ISIS we are investigating the possibility of replacing 3He filled gas tubes with scintillation detectors.

ISIS is the world’s leading centre for pulsed neutrons and muons. It provides scientists and engineers with a facility to determine the structure and dynamics of materials at the molecular/atomic level. A vigorous research and development programme is underway to meet the demands for new detectors at ISIS. The successful student will contribute to this programme, working alongside experienced scientists to develop and evaluate the potential of new detectors.

List of Duties / Work Programme / Responsibilities 

The successful candidate will investigate methods to produce scintillation detectors with wavelength shifting fibre read out for use in large area neutron detector arrays at an acceptable cost and with a performance comparable to 3He gas tubes. This is typically done by designing and constructing a number of small prototype detectors, experimentally determining the characteristics of these detectors and optimising the design. Detector characteristics that will be measured include: neutron detection efficiency, gamma sensitivity, intrinsic detector background, detector resolution and light collection efficiency.

At the end of the project a larger prototype detector will be build to verify the performance on a more realistic scale.

The ISIS Detector Group currently consists of 13 members of staff and is divided into two teams, a Research and Development team responsible for detector performance and a Technical team responsible for detector and monitor prototyping, assembly, installation and maintenance. Each section is lead by a section leader. Since detector performance depends heavily on construction and maintainability the two sections interact extensively.

The post holder’s immediate line manager will be the Research and Development section leader. Additional contacts will include all personnel of the ISIS Neutron Detector Group.

The placement student is expected to present results of the project in regular meetings with his/her line manager.

Personal Skills and Attributes

Useful if the student is dextrous and has a particular interest in experimental research. Willing to work as part of a multidisciplinary team and with ionising radiation.

For further information about the position, please contact or

Any other relevant information:

Work will require the use of sealed radiation sources and some opportunity to work on ISIS test beams is available.