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Product Spotlight: Neutron Pulse Monitor (Part 2)

The first part of the Neutron Pulse Monitor Product spotlight focused on the Multichannel Analyzer and how it makes setting up the device more efficient and accurate. The built-in MCA is also an invaluable diagnostic tool both in the field and in the lab as it allows the user to monitor the health of each individual detector/tube combination and identify problems as they arise. Many NPM-3000 devices are used in remote locations and mobile platforms where laboratory diagnostic equipment is not available. Quaesta makes a data logger with Iridium satellite telemetry that interfaces with the NPM-3000 for remote or environmental measurements. This system (logger and NPM) allows for remote monitoring of the pulse height spectra from neutron detectors.

Often, remote detectors are subjected to harsh environments or vibrations for long periods of time. By monitoring the spectra for each detector, Quaesta staff and partners have been able to identify and address detector problems proactively. In some cases, a failing detector may be fixed or improved by remotely adjusting discriminator settings.

In a lab environment, standard preamplifiers are often linked together in large arrays with no way to assign counts to a particular detector. In such a configuration, if a single detector or tube fails, the entire array (sometimes several hundred preamplifiers) must be individually examined, a process that can shut down a detector array for weeks or more. Quaesta’s Neutron Pulse Monitor is individually addressable via Ethernet (or USB), and by viewing the spectrum for each device, an operator can quickly and easily identify and repair or replace a single faulty detector/tube combination.

Our Neutron Pulse Monitor is also available with a built-in pulse counter and data logger. The pulse counts are time-stamped and stored on an externally accessible SD card and are backed up internally. This data logging feature has tremendous value in an unattended monitoring application. Because the NPM-3000 can store data locally, it can send data out in bursts. Burst transmissions can take advantage of less expensive satellite communication services because the bursts may be fit in between higher priority data streams. The data logging capability allows a user to access the neutron detector data at irregular intervals.

Our NPMs have been used by the International Atomic Energy Agency in an unattended monitoring application. A Quaesta NPM is integrated into the Mobile Unit Neutron Detector (MUND), which is deployed during nuclear waste transport. The IAEA ensures continuity of knowledge by verifying radiation levels recorded by the MUND before, during, and after transport.

Quaesta’s Neutron Pulse Monitor is the ideal solution for those looking to take their research to the next level or add security and capability to a safeguards system.

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