Are artificial diamonds fission researchers’ best friends?

Fission detector built from artificial diamond © EU, 2016

JRC scientists, in collaboration with the Swedish Chalmers University of Technology, investigated whether diamond materials could be suitable as fission-fragment detectors. The results of the study revealed that this approach still has its limitations.

The JRC-Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) has a long-standing expertise in measuring prompt fission neutron and γ-ray characteristics. In obtaining more selectivity, singlecrystal chemical vapour deposited (sCVD) diamonds were investigated for their ability to act as a fission-fragment detector. The results prove that artificial sCVD diamonds display excellent timing resolution well below 10-10, seconds with highspeed digital electronics and detection efficiency for fission fragments close to 100%. However, the strongly varying quality of the presently available diamond material does not yet allow application on a sufficiently large scale within reasonable investments.

Read more in: M.O. Frégeau et al.: “First use of single-crystal diamonds as fission-fragment detector“, Nucl. Inst. and Meth. A 791 (2015) 58–64, doi:10.1016/j.nima.2015.04.030