Device for Measuring Tritium Production Rates of Lithium Salts

The Need

In the realm of nuclear technology, the demand for high-purity tritium gas is escalating, driven by the requirements of fusion applications and portable neutron generators. Determining the yield of tritium is important for designing a tritium gas production facility and for conducting safety analysis. As a result, there is a pressing need for measuring tritium yield with unmatched sensitivity.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, lead by Professor Lei 'Raymond' Cao, have developed a unique method and device to track triton particles produced by lithium-6 in lithium salts, such as lithium carbonate or FLiBe, when the sample is placed in or near a neutron source. This approach allows for precise measurement of the tritium gas production rate, ensuring accuracy in designing tritium gas production facilities and conducting safety analyses. The sensitivity of our method is enhanced by optimizing the thickness of the lithium salt layer, allowing for both efficient triton escape and accurate yield measurement. This approach allows the sample to be reexamined multiple times, as the energy of the beta particles emitted by the tracked tritons is about 480 times less than the energy of the initial triton energy. This allows for clear tracks that are clearly visible for multiple evaluations, if needed.

Commercial Applications

  • Energy Production: Molten salt reactors (MSRs)

  • Cancer Treatment: Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT)


  • Unprecedented Sensitivity: Our technology provides a level of sensitivity previously unattainable, allowing for accurate and reliable measurement of tritium yield, critical for facility design and safety assessments.
  • Versatility: Out technology's applicability spans across fusion research, neutron generation, and various nuclear experiments and medical treatments, providing a versatile solution for diverse scientific, industrial and medical needs.

Patent Protection

  • United States Provisional Patent Application

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