Quaesta Instruments has just finished designing and manufacturing a portable backpack neutron detector. The system uses two 1” x 1’ Helium-3 proportional counter gas tubes, with Boron-10 lined and Boron Trifluoride tubes as an available option. These tubes connect to a single NPM 3000, the latest version of our Neutron Pulse Monitor (NPM). The Neutron Pulse Monitor communicates via Bluetooth to an app-based graphical user interface on any standard smart phone or PDA. We have also integrated GPS and data logging functionality into the backpack, and a mast-mounted temperature and humidity sensor is optional. The whole system runs off 6 D-cell batteries for over 100 hours of continuous use.
The pack itself is waterproof and has a rugged, high-impact plastic exterior, making it a durable companion for indoor and outdoor use in safeguards or research applications. All the parameters on the neutron detector can be digitally programmed using a computer or the smart phone interface. The advanced GPS integrated data logging feature of our device makes it ideal for large scale area neutron monitoring, where neutron count levels must be recorded at different positions. This data is stored on a removable SD card in our Neutron Pulse Monitor and backed up on a separate internal card. This data can then be read on the smart phone user interface, off the SD card, or directly from the Neutron Pulse Monitor by connecting it via USB, RS-232, or Ethernet to a computer.
The backpack is the first in what will be a suite of portable neutron detector systems based on our Neutron Pulse Monitor. Our NPM is ideal for portable applications in many ways. It is completely digitally programmable, so features such as gain, voltage, and upper/lower discriminator can be set easily and on the fly without the need for more complicated setup equipment. Also, our built in Multi Channel Analyzer(MCA) provides functionality previously only found in much larger NIM rack systems. The MCA provides a graphical spectrum of the gas tube and allows for easy set up in minutes by allowing the user to visually set the upper and lower discriminators on the NPM. The MCA also allows the user to continually check the health of the detector and know if neutron counts are being affected by excess noise. Even in a robust system such as ours, neutron counts can be affected by factors including tube wear/breakdown over time, faulty or degrading connectors, and differing capacitance due to changes in cable positioning.
Look for a spec sheet coming soon to our products page. In the mean time please contact us with any further questions about our neutron detector systems or our Neutron Pulse Monitor.