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Seminar: Pillar-Based Electronics

Rebecca Nikolic, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 9:35 am to 10:55 am
E141 Scott Laboratory
201 W. 19th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has been pursuing a 3-D “pillar-based” thermal neutron detector technology, with the overall objective to demonstrate a high efficiency solid state thermal neutron detector that has operational characteristics that exceed current 3He tube technology. The Pillar Detector offers substantive advantages over the 3He thermal neutron detector tubes deployed today, in that it operates at much lower voltage, is less sensitive to vibrations and doesn’t have the availability issues that have been plaguing 3He. The LLNL structure consists of an array of silicon current collecting “pillars” filled with 10Boron (10B) – the neutron sensitive material. This 3-D structure is optimized in terms of both material selection (silicon and 10B) and architecture (pillar height and pitch). LLNL detailed simulations and experiments show that the Pillar Detector has an efficiency of nearly 50% while maintaining gamma discrimination of 105 when scaled to a device height of 50 µm. The LLNL group has participated in multiple DHS DNDO field tests to benchmark this technology against 3He tubes and have shown the ability to operate our detectors in a neutron coincidence counting mode to determine the mass of the neutron source. The group has extended its 3-D pillar-based technology to new device applications including radioisotope batteries and vertical gallium nitride structures, which will be included in this talk.


About the speaker

Rebecca Nikolic earned a PhD in electrical engineering in 2002, with a specialization in applied physics from the University of California. Other notable achievements include earning a Fellowship at the Scowcroft Institute, Bush School of Government, National Security Leadership Program at Texas A&M, serving as the Scientific Editor of LLNL’s S&TR in 2011-2012 and serving as an elected Administrative Committee member for IEEE Electron Device Society for numerous years. She joined LLNL in 2002 where she is multi-disciplinary leader of microtechnology-based solutions in gamma and neutron detection, energy generation and storage and electronics. Additionally, she is currently responsible for leading the Nuclear Diagnostic R&D activities at LLNL. She is responsible for providing vision and leadership to the diagnostic community serving the crisis response needs, setting strategic requirements for LLNL’s R&D and developing and implementing a strategic plan. She is author or co-author of seventy publications and one book chapter and seven patents. 


Hosted by Professor Vaibhav Sinha.