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Flexible silicon-based alpha-particle detector

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JournalApplied Physics Letters
DateAccepted/In press - 6 Aug 2017
DatePublished (current) - 16 Aug 2017
Issue number7
Number of pages4
Original languageEnglish


The detection of alpha particles in the field can be challenging due to their short range in air of often only a few centimeters or less. This short range is a particular issue for measuring radiation inside contaminated pipework in the nuclear industry, for which there is currently no simple method available without cutting the pipes open. Here, we propose an approach for low cost, rapid, and safe identification of internally contaminated pipework based on a flexible 30 × 10 mm2 sheet of 50 μm thin crystalline silicon. Following established fabrication steps of pn-junction diodes, we have constructed a device with a signal-to-noise ratio of >20 in response to 5.5 MeV alpha-particles using a bespoke amplifier circuit. As flexible detectors may readily conform to a curved surface and are able to adapt to the curvature of a given pipeline, our prototype device stands out as a viable solution for nuclear decommissioning and related applications.

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