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Bob Higgins open sources affordable corona discharge Neutron detection system [UPDATE#3 - Bob Higgins published version 1.0 of his apparatus]

Written by Robert Greenyer on .

Since we appear to have observed thermal Neutron emissions in our recent *GlowStick* 5.3 experiment by way of industry standard Bubbletech detectors, we have been made aware of a number of researchers that have observed them too. Of course, we already knew that Piantelli and Focardi had observed them in their work without much understanding of the reactants used at that time. However, there is mounting evidence:-

- On closer inspection of Dr. Edmund Storms paper from 2012, where he deduces that his observed 109 minute decay has come from 'activation' of K41 in his Geiger counters mica window, Ecco suggested that this could come from n,p knockout reaction making K41 > Ar41 which decays via Beta emission over 109 minutes. This would imply that neutrons were being emitted from the reactor which contained Nickel exposed to hydrogen.

- me356's observations of emitted Neutrons from a reactor that uses transition metals and hydrogen, claimed to be controllable

- Clean Planet patent application claiming controllable Neutron emissions from apparatus including prepared Nickel and Hydrogen

- Observation of Neutrons from apparatus containing transition metals and Hydrogen by Russian researchers

- Observations of Neutrons by Ubaldo Mastromatteo in apparatus containing powders and Hydrogen

- Dr. Stoyan Sarg's predictions of a mechanism for production of Neutrons in Nickel + Lithium + Hydrogen

It has become clear that researchers should have a means of detecting Neutrons in their work and the Bubbletech solution should be considered by all. They do have limitations though - they need to be re-set periodically and do not work above 40C. In addition, it is difficult to know the precise event timings - we were lucky to observe a few appearing on our live broadcast recordings, but this is not a practical solution for all. A better solution would be to have a reliable method of detecting Neutrons which is more temperature resilient and capable of precise event timing and counting.

To that end, MFMP collaborator Bob Higgins has been working on a Neutron detection system and to his great credit, he is open sourcing it. It uses Russian CHM 32 Corona tubes available on E-Bay for around $50. He has written a paper about it which is still being updated and has designed PCBs - the full works. If researchers are interested in securing a kit, please let us know.

You can get the latest version of the document here

Images will be updated here

UPDATE#1 - prototype functional

Bob Higgins has finished the first prototype of his 3He Neutron counter...
A patch board had to be added to fix a layout oversight that will be corrected in the next version of the boards - however, it is functioning nicely counting cosmogenic neutrons which produce nice clean pulses.
The slit in the HDPE is to allow thermal neutrons directly in.

UPDATE#2 - Major update to Bob Higgins' Open Source Neutron detector paper


UPDATE#3 - Bob Higgins published version 1.0 of his apparatus 

2 boards have been shipped to Alan Goldwater who has started assembly (he already has two CCCP CHM-32 3He tubes) and 3 boards have been sent to Ryan Hunt at HUG who will assemble them to join the 3 tubes in Aarhus for the experiments there.
Mathieu Valat in France already has two more standard Neutron detectors in his lab.


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0 #5 Bob Higgins 2016-09-26 19:01
There is a version 1.1 of the paper available to correct a part call-out in the bill of materials. The latest paper can be found in this folder:

0 #4 Bob Higgins 2016-09-26 18:57
@Peter Mobberley ... Yes, Peter, you can construct a neutron spallation check source from an alpha emitter such as 241 or radium mixed with a light metal, particularly Be. However, you need something over 0.1Ci of alpha emitter to be a useful neutron source (measurable above background). The smoke detectors only have about 1E-6Ci.
0 #3 Robert Greenyer 2016-07-10 12:16
Hi Peter,

The ones we are using are from Sovtube and we have 3 in the US and 3 on the way already to EU - I will be in the UK early August and if you want one you can grab it at cost from me - we can arrange meeting accordingly. We have already requested a collaboration with LFH to be a window for kits. Link for our EBay supplier - you can buy direct from Sovtube for a little less but not so convenient.


Yes - Bob created his moderator and electronics box from milled raw material this allowed him to create a window to 'see' already thermal neutrons since we saw that already in GS 5.3. The moderator material was the most expensive part.

I propose a moderator from a HDPE water storage can (£1.50)


with an silicone or heat sealed LDPE tube ( Melting point 110 C ) inserted through holes drilled through the bottom and sealed with silicone



and filled in the gap with industrial Paraffin wax from the top (melting point between about 38 and 60 °C). This would be far more trivial to make.


You could have multiple ones for different levels of moderation through the container.


If you don't care about it sticking a little out of the top and embedding it directly in Paraffin wax, get one of these HDPE drinking bottles


Skew to one side (to allow for less moderation in one aspect) by drilling a hole in the bottom off-centre, seal and position hold with silicone, fill with liquid paraffin from lid end, screw lid back on.

Cost: less than £20, about 1 hours work.
0 #2 Peter Mobberley 2016-07-09 12:28
' Sometimes references are made to this detector as the
CHM-32 detector, which is identical to SNM-32, but written in
Cyrillic script '
So it's the Bulgarian one on ebay ?
Where did you get the nice,neat HDPE moderator block ?
Looks like you milled the electronics box out of solid -- surely
not !
For my neutron check source I propose 241Am submerged in
a bed of LiOH.H2O crystals ( bit like the GADGET initiator !)
Cheers Pete.

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