Helium-3 Detector 8Pack Finished at Close of COVID-19 Challenged Year
Reuter-Stokes and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) ended 2020 on a note of completion. In mid-December, the Twinsburg, Ohio-based manufacturer commissioned its build of a new Helium-3 Detector 8Pack system (NeuAcq™)for installation on the NG-3 Very Small Angle Scattering (VSANS) target station at the NIST Gaithersburg, MD, research facility.
This NIST neutron-scattering facility offers a way to study the molecular structure, movement and composition of materials. It operates a large-scale neutron source that provides thermal neutrons through a target station to an array of research instruments. The Reuter-Stokes NeuAcq™ module combines high-efficiency neutron detection with high-speed electronics in an integrated assembly that significantly reduces the time required for installation, commissioning and service. Variants are available for vacuum, partial vacuum and non-vacuum applications.
During system commissioning, the team replaced a system board in the field, underscoring the field serviceability of the 8Pack design. This also demonstrated to the customer what is required for minor servicing in the field, including opening and closing air-tight covers, the internal modular design and testing operation after servicing. The 8Packs were then hung on the custom mounting frame and aligned to ensure all detectors were on a single plane. The system was made 100% complete and accepted for installation by the customer during this signal trip.This commissioning marks the end of a pandemic-impacted effort to design, manufacture, test, ship and ready the Reuter-Stokes system for installation. Both NIST and Reuter-Stokes remained undaunted by these challenges and worked together to make the system commissioning a reality before the end of 2020.
A longtime Reuter-Stokes customer, NIST has installed a number of Helium-3 Detector 8Pack modules since the product launched more than eight years ago. This latest module underwent factory acceptance testing in early March 2020 and was shipped and received by NIST in July. Operation is anticipated in late Q1 2021.