announced today the demonstration of the world's first microchannel plate
fabricated on a plastic substrate. Microchannel plates are used in numerous
imaging and detection applications where high spatial and temporal resolution
coupled with high signal to noise ratio are important. Example applications
include: space science, biotechnology, analytical instrumentation, homeland
security and night vision.
“For decades, microchannel plate performance has improved only marginally
due to a manufacturing process which is constrained by available materials and
processes,” explains Neal Sullivan, CTO of Arradiance. “The requisite
lead-glass substrate material has limited the ability to optimize microchannel
plate performance for applications where lifetime, gain and substrate size or
composition are important. Arradiance’s proprietary thin film technology
now makes it possible to fabricate microchannel plates from many materials including
non-lead containing glasses, ceramics, silicon and even plastic, while allowing
independent optimization of the functional films and the substrate”
“The day the first plastic MCP was born may become a part of technology
history. [It] was never done before and it opens up many new applications and
possibilities, which did not [previously] exist,” said Dr. Anton Tremsin,
of the SSL Experimental Astrophysics Group, U.C. Berkeley.
Arradiance will apply this technology to develop a practical, compact and efficient
detector of the “fast” neutrons that result from the spontaneous
fission of Special Nuclear Materials. Most neutron counting detectors require
that these “fast” neutrons be “thermalized” or slowed
through interaction with a moderator, such as plastic or water, in order to
be detected. Moderation of the fast neutrons results in the loss of very important
spatial and temporal information that could be used to locate the neutron source
and significantly improve signal-to-noise.
This application is especially important for the country’s burgeoning
Port and Homeland Security needs. “Detection of fast, as opposed to thermal
neutrons, can give the government a new tool with which to determine the location
and type of nuclear threat at our borders,” said Ken Stenton, CEO of Arradiance.
“The speed, low noise and efficiency of microchannel structures coupled
with the capability of plastic materials make this approach to a growing problem