Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Our sensor capabilities working for your solutions


Connect to in-depth capabilities and multidisciplinary sensor expertise.

Contact Us! sensornexus@lanl.gov

New Neutron Detector Materials

Highly efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally safe alternative to 3He based neutron detectors with simultaneous neutron and gamma-ray counting. 


  • Simultaneous Cascade of Gamma Rays- For neutron detection, neutrons are converted into simultaneous cascades of gamma rays via a neutron capture reaction on cadmium.
  • Numerous Patterns Detected- Cadmium foils are surrounded by a multi-detector system measuring gamma rays where different patterns of numbers of detected gamma ray and total gamma-ray energy enables differentiation between neutron and gamma-ray events.
  • Intrinsic Efficiency- ENGA is capable of achieving intrinsic neutron detection efficiency as high as 14%.
  • Neutron Absolute Detection Efficiency- 3.9 neutron counts/s/ng of shielded Cf- 252.
  • Few False Positives-This technology produces less than 1:10000 rates of false positives (negatives) for 15 s measurements of 10 ng, Cf-252, 2m away from ENGA.
  • Large Area Coverage & Benefits to Handheld Systems- Systems with large areal coverage can be developed with no significant increase in price and small handheld systems with directional capabilities can be developed.

S-121360.000. M. Jandel, G. Rusev, T. N. Taddeucci, "System for Detecting Special Nuclear Materials", US Patent #9081108, Issued on 07/14/2015

Development Stage

A 1 m x 60 cm x 25 cm prototype has been built and tested with Cf-252.