GE Energy, manufacturer of Reuter Stokes radiation detection
equipment, has signed a technology transfer agreement to market the
electronics and software associated with the SNS 8Pack neutron detector
system, an award-winning design for a system of sensitive neutron
detectors developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The SNS 8Pack is a compact neutron detection system that was
developed for the Department of Energy's Spallation Neutron Source, a
record-setting neutron science facility located at ORNL. The SNS
electronics can determine both the time and position of the neutron
captured, enabling very accurate neutron time-of-flight measurements.
It has large-area detector coverage, extremely low power requirements
and digital communication capability.
"It is exciting that, even as the SNS ramps up to its full
power of 1.4 megawatts, technologies from its development are already
finding their way to the marketplace," said ORNL Director Thom Mason.
"Combining GE's expertise in designing detectors for neutron
scattering instruments with the high-speed electronics and software
developed by SNS is a natural fit," said Leo VanderSchuur, Product Line
General Manager for GE Energy's Reuter Stokes Measurement Solutions.
"This state-of-the-art design will benefit the neutron scattering
community with high-speed performance and advanced time-of-flight
SNS engineers developed the electronics and software for the
integrated detector system to accommodate the very large detector areas
and high rates required by the SNS. Interest in the product for
commercial applications has ranged from other neutron science
facilities to security applications, such as monitoring land, air and
"The system is modular so that very large detector arrays can
be built. You can have greater than 50 square meters of detector
coverage," said Ron Cooper, a member of the SNS development team. "It
has high rate capability, good position resolution, and features
modern, distributed personal-computer-based electronics."
Another attractive feature is its very lower power
requirement. "The SNS 8Pack requires very little power to operate; less
than 10 watts. In fact, it can be powered by a small solar panel," said
Cooper, of ORNL's Neutron Facilities Development Division.
The 8Pack technology development was funded by the DOE Office
of Science's Basic Energy Science program. Developed by Cooper, Richard
Riedel of ORNL's Neutron Scattering Science Division and Lloyd Clonts
of ORNL's Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division, the
solar power version called Pharos won an R&D 100 award in 2007
as one of the year's top technologies as determined by R&D