Boron trifluoride (BF3) proportional counters are used as detectors for thermal neutrons. They are characterized by high neutron sensitivity and good gamma discriminating properties. Most practical BF3 counters are filled with pure boron trifluoride gas enriched up to 96% 10B. But BF3 is not an ideal proportional counter gas. Worsening of plateau characteristics is observed with increasing radius due to impurities in gas. To overcome this problem, counters are filled with BF3 with an admixture of a more suitable gas such as argon. The dilution of BF3 with argon causes a decrease in detection efficiency, but the pulse height spectrum shows sharper peaks and more stable plateau characteristics than counters filled with pure BF3. The present investigations are under-taken to study the pulse height distribution and other important factors in BF3+Ar filled signal counters for neutron beam applications. Tests are performed with detectors with cylindrical geometry filled with BF3 gas enriched in 10B to 90%, and high purity Ar in different proportions. By analysing pulse height spectra, a value of $6.1 \pm 0.2$ has been obtained for the branching ratio of the 10B($n,\alpha$) reaction.
Volume 93 | Issue 6
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