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Rev Sci Instrum. 2014 Apr;85(4):043302. doi: 10.1063/1.4870898.

Empirical assessment of the detection efficiency of CR-39 at high proton fluence and a compact, proton detector for high-fluence applications.

Author information

  • 1Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.
  • 2Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14623, USA.
  • 3Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94550, USA.
  • 4Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA.
  • 5General Atomics, San Diego, California 92186, USA.


CR-39 solid-state nuclear track detectors are widely used in physics and in many inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments, and under ideal conditions these detectors have 100% detection efficiency for ∼0.5-8 MeV protons. When the fluence of incident particles becomes too high, overlap of particle tracks leads to under-counting at typical processing conditions (5 h etch in 6N NaOH at 80 °C). Short etch times required to avoid overlap can cause under-counting as well, as tracks are not fully developed. Experiments have determined the minimum etch times for 100% detection of 1.7-4.3-MeV protons and established that for 2.4-MeV protons, relevant for detection of DD protons, the maximum fluence that can be detected using normal processing techniques is ≲3 × 10(6) cm(-2). A CR-39-based proton detector has been developed to mitigate issues related to high particle fluences on ICF facilities. Using a pinhole and scattering foil several mm in front of the CR-39, proton fluences at the CR-39 are reduced by more than a factor of ∼50, increasing the operating yield upper limit by a comparable amount.

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