On neutron detection with silicon carbide and its resistance to large accumulated fluence
Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati, via Enrico Fermi 40, 00044, Frascati, Italy
2 CIEMAT, Av. Complutense 40, 28040, Madrid, Spain
3 Università degli Studi di Torino, via P. Giuria 1, 10125, Torino, Italy
4 INFN, Sezione di Torino, via P. Giuria 1, 10125, Torino, Italy
5 Università degli Studi di Pavia, Via Bassi, 6, 27100, Pavia, Italy
6 INFN Sezione di Pavia, Via Bassi, 6, 27100, Pavia, Italy
7 ENEA-Department of Fusion and Technologies for Nuclear Safety and Security, via Enrico Fermi 44, 00044, Frascati, Italy
Accepted: 20 November 2022
Published online: 19 December 2022
Within the framework of the ENTER_BNCT INFN project, commercially available silicon carbide sensors with 1 mm area were made sensitive to thermal neutrons. Two different thermal neutron radiators were exploited, leading to different measurement sensitivities and degrees of radiation resistance: (1) a LiF coating on the sensor or (2) the air volume between the sensor surface and the walls of the package. Thermal neutron sensitivity and radiation resistance were assessed in the well-controlled thermal neutron beam produced in the thermal column of the TRIGA reactor at LENA Pavia. The sensors were connected to a nuclear spectroscopy system and irradiated up to an accumulated fluence of 5.610 cm distributed in nine steps, ranging from 10 cm to 10 cm each, with the reactor operating at the maximum power of 250 kW. After each “damaging step”, the reactor power was lowered to 100 W, and the pulse height distribution of the detectors was recorded. This allowed to observe the effects of the progressive damage by inspecting the pulse height distribution. These effects were evident in the LiF-coated detector and fairly observable in the air-type one. To interpret the spectra, a specific Monte Carlo code was written to model the neutron interaction in both detectors, achieving very satisfactory agreement with the experiment.
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