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Project Grant


Grant Description
Hardcell: A robust sensor head for hot cell nuclear material accounting and control.
Place of Performance
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
Radiation Monitoring Devices was awarded Project Grant DESC0022768 worth $199,940 from the Office of Science in June 2022 with work to be completed primarily in Watertown Massachusetts United States. The grant has a duration of 9 months and was awarded through assistance program 81.049 Office of Science Financial Assistance Program. The Project Grant was awarded through grant opportunity FY 2022 SBIR/STTR Phase I Release 2.

SBIR Details

Research Type
SBIR Phase I
36a HardCell: A Robust Sensor Head for Hot Cell Nuclear Material Accounting and Control
Nuclear energy could contribute to solving the climate crisis by displacing power generation from fossil fuels. U.S. domestic nuclear material accounting and control (NMAC) for emerging nuclear fuel cycles require new innovative nuclear detector technologies that include advanced scintillators and readout electronics for gamma spectroscopy in an inert hot cell environment. These detectors must retain both gamma-ray and neutron sensitivity in a high radiation, high temperature environment. The HardCell sensor head to be developed in this project is a radiation hard and temperature resistant nuclear detector using an advanced scintillation material coupled to a rugged photomultiplier tube interfaced to an active voltage divider network and first stage amplifier. A promising scintillation material is praseodymium bromide (PrBr3), which has a density of 5.3 g/cc, and a decay time of 9 ns. Early samples have shown light yields of 20 photons/keV and energy resolution of 5.6% full width at half maximum (FWHM) at 662 keV. High-temperature, radiation-tolerant readout electronics consisting of an active voltage divider and first stage amplifier will be coupled to a robust photomultiplier tube to provide good signal fidelity at high rates. The Phase 1 effort will target PrBr3 at the primary candidate scintillator for the sensor head to be evaluated at temperature and under exposure. A prototype amplifier and voltage divider circuit will be characterized, as components will be analyzed as a function of dose and temperature. The sensor head is a key technology element for both gamma ray spectroscopy and neutron detection. The technology development provides a framework from which a variety of form factors can be obtained for a myriad of nuclear material accounting and control applications. The technology developed within this project facilitates products used in extreme environments, such as sensors for space missions.
Topic Code
Solicitation Number


Last Modified 7/25/22

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
100% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
100.0% Federal Funding
0.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Interactive chart of timeline of amendments to DESC0022768

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
Small Business
Awarding Office
Funding Office
892401 SCIENCE
Awardee UEI
Awardee CAGE
Performance District
Edward Markey
Elizabeth Warren
Katherine Clark

Budget Funding

Federal Account Budget Subfunction Object Class Total Percentage
Science, Energy Programs, Energy (089-0222) General science and basic research Grants, subsidies, and contributions (41.0) $199,940 100%
Modified: 7/25/22