Award Date

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Alexander Barzilov

Second Committee Member

Charles Martin

Third Committee Member

William Culbreth

Fourth Committee Member

Paul Guss

Fifth Committee Member

Ke-Xun Sun

Number of Pages



This study consists of both computational and experimental investigations. The computational results enabled detector design selections and confirmed experimental results. The experimental results determined that the CLYC scintillation detector can be applied as a functional and field-deployable multimode radiation sensor.

The computational study utilized MCNP6 code to investigate the response of CLYC to various incident radiations and to determine the feasibility of its application as a handheld multimode sensor and as a single-scintillator collimated directional detection system. These simulations include:

• Characterization of the response of the CLYC scintillator to gamma-rays and neutrons;

• Study of the isotopic enrichment of 7Li versus 6Li in the CLYC for optimal detection of both thermal neutrons and fast neutrons;

• Analysis of collimator designs to determine the optimal collimator for the single CLYC sensor directional detection system to assay gamma rays and neutrons; Simulations of a handheld CLYC multimode sensor and a single CLYC scintillator collimated directional detection system with the optimized collimator to determine the feasibility of detecting nuclear materials that could be encountered during field operations. These nuclear materials include depleted uranium, natural uranium, low-enriched uranium, highly-enriched uranium, reactor-grade plutonium, and weapons-grade plutonium.

The experimental study includes the design, construction, and testing of both a handheld CLYC multimode sensor and a single CLYC scintillator collimated directional detection system. Both were designed in the Inventor CAD software and based on results of the computational study to optimize its performance.

The handheld CLYC multimode sensor is modular, scalable, low‐power, and optimized for high count rates. Commercial‐off‐the‐shelf components were used where possible in order to optimize size, increase robustness, and minimize cost. The handheld CLYC multimode sensor was successfully tested to confirm its ability for gamma-ray and neutron detection, and gamma‐ray and neutron spectroscopy. The sensor utilizes wireless data transfer for possible radiation mapping and network‐centric deployment. The handheld multimode sensor was tested by performing laboratory measurements with various gamma-ray sources and neutron sources.

The single CLYC scintillator collimated directional detection system is portable, robust, and capable of source localization and identification. The collimator was designed based on the results of the computational study and is constructed with high density polyethylene (HDPE) and lead (Pb). The collimator design and construction allows for the directional detection of gamma rays and fast neutrons utilizing only one scintillator which is interchangeable. For this study, a CLYC-7 scintillator was used. The collimated directional detection system was tested by performing laboratory directional measurements with various gamma-ray sources, 252Cf and a 239PuBe source.


CLYC; elpasolites; multimode sensing; neutron imaging; photon imaging; remote sensing


Nuclear Engineering

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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