BLOOMINGTON, IN (June 26, 2012) – PartTec, Ltd., a high technology company that develops, manufactures and sells several lines of radiation detectors, has been named by R&D Magazine a winner of the 50th Annual R&D 100 Award for the non-helium-3 wavelength-shifting scintillator neutron detector. The Annual R&D 100 Awards recognize the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year.
The wavelength-shifting scintillator neutron, or WLS, detector was jointly developed by PartTec Ltd. and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. PartTec’s team consisted of Herschel Workman, President and CEO; Craig Kline, Production Manager; and John Collins, Senior Research Scientist.
Neutron detectors are used in medical physics, nondestructive testing, advanced neutron imaging science, environmental monitoring and for homeland security. The WLS detector is a breakthrough technology for replacing large area helium-3 detectors at neutron scattering facilities throughout the world. The WLS detector performs many of the same functions as the helium-3 detectors; however, the WLS detector uses lithium-6 instead of helium-3 gas to detect neutron radiation. This replacement technology is critical because of the long-term shortage of helium-3 gas material that is required for the operation of the helium-3 detectors.
Helium-3 is a nontoxic byproduct of producing nuclear weapons, and was essential in nuclear radiation detection, oil and gas operations and medical diagnostics. Despite the post Cold War virtual halt of U.S. nuclear weapons production, there remained a substantial surplus of helium-3 – until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The resulting demand for nuclear radiation detection devices quickly drained the surplus, created a worldwide helium-3 crisis, and exposed a significant security gap. The demand for nuclear radiation detection devices was not met, and the technology to work without helium-3 simply didn’t exist. PartTec, Ltd. and Oak Ridge National Laboratory quickly mobilized to design, test and manufacture the only low cost, large-area solid-state neutron detector in the world and which is commercially available in the United States. Research funding was provided by the Department of Energy, Office of Science.
“We started PartTec, Ltd. in 2002 with the mission to provide precision, quality and innovation in manufacturing neutron detectors for the world’s leading research laboratories,” said Herschel Workman President and CEO of PartTec. “We proved to not only excel at building neutron detectors to specifications with precision and quality, but in the wake of the Helium-3 crisis, our world class staff is taking innovation to a new level, creating ground breaking technologies to help expand laboratory research as well as meet global security needs.”
PartTec, Ltd., founded in 2002, is a radiation detector company specializing in the design and manufacture of non-helium-3 neutron detectors for research laboratories, Department of Defense, and Homeland Security. The company is headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana with a manufacturing facility in Linton, Indiana. PartTec, Ltd. can be reached at 812.323.0541 or on the Net at www.parttec.com.
Contact: Nichole D. Hoffmann, VP Communications