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PartTec's Newly Licensed Neutron Detector Will Advance Human Disease Studies
Date:9/11/2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Sept. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- PartTec, Ltd., an Indiana-based manufacturer of radiation detection technologies, has signed an agreement to manufacture and market a neutron detector system that may help researchers identify the underlying causes of human diseases.

Using the Neutron-Sensitive Anger Camera developed by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, biologists can study a wider variety of proteins. Insight gained from studying these macromolecules could offer cures for diseases such as AIDS and cancer.

"This ORNL detector system, developed for DOE's Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor Complex, can determine the time and position of the neutrons captured, enabling extremely accurate neutron time-of-flight measurements," said Yacouba Diawara of the Instrument and Source Design Division at ORNL. The detector achieves very high efficiency, high timing and position resolution and low background noise at a reduced cost — all characteristics that make it attractive for medical, biological and general scientific research.

"The detector is suited for biological samples because the protein crystals scientists are interested in are very small, about the size of a grain of sand," said Richard Riedel of the Instrument and Source Design Division at ORNL. "No other neutron detectors are suited for viewing these complex proteins at a pulsed neutron source."

The ORNL research team has optimized an existing technology called the Anger Camera — named after its inventor, Hal Oscar Anger — improving the detector's ability to view the atomic structure of protein macromolecules. Previous neutron detectors struggled to resolve crystals smaller than 2 millimeters, but ORNL's system can clearly detect 1-millimeter and smaller crystals. This capability is important not only for biological crystals but also for small crystals that are subject to extremely high pressures.


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SOURCE PartTec, Ltd.
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