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The detector is a key element for every neutron scattering instrument and its performance and reliability is of utmost importance for the success of the experiments. Neutron scattering facilities have, for many years, depended on the availability of 3He for a large fraction of their detector requirements. However, the demand for 3He driven largely by the US homeland security requirements has led to an unprecedented increase in the cost of this gas and its unavailability for all but the smallest systems. Now, for the neutron facilities it is crucial that alternative high performance and cost effective detector technologies are developed.
Within an EU funded project the detector group at the Forschungszentrum Jülich has started to develop a promising alternative, namely wavelength shifting (WLS) fiber scintillation detectors. In these detectors light generated in a ZnS/6Li scintillator is captured by wavelength shifting fibers and converted to electronic signals by photomultiplier tubes. The aim of the project is to fabricate demonstrators with a sensitive area of ~ 30 × 30 cm2 to serve as test systems.
Dr. Günter Kemmerling