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Project lead: Prof Malcolm Joyce
ADRIANA is a suite of digital radiometric instrumentation which forms part of the UK National Nuclear User Facility. It was funded and set up in 2014 and comprises three separate facilities at Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool and the UKAEA Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).


ADRIANA was established to provide researchers in the UK and their collaborators worldwide with access to state-of-the-art digital radiometric detection and measurement instruments not otherwise widely available in the UK. It comprises:

  • digital neutron assay system (Prof. Malcolm Joyce, Lancaster)
  • a digital position-sensitive CZT/germanium detector array with mechanical cooler (Dr Laura Harkness-Brennan, Liverpool)
  • digital systems for environmental radioactivity assay including a broad energy germanium (BEGe™) and small anode germanium (SAGe™) detector systems (Dr Chantal Nobs, CCFE).



Broad energy germanium detector system

The high-sensitivity Broad Energy Germanium detector with Compton Suppression capability. The detector is hosted and managed at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Abingdon

© Malcolm Joyce


Neutron assay system

15 of the 32 liquid scintillation neutron assay system hosted and managed at Lancaster University. The image was taken during work at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA, using a selection of their high-activity sources to measure neutron multiplicity

Reproduced from (© R. Sarwar, V. Astromskas, C.H. Zimmerman, G. Nutter, A.T. Simone, S. Croft, M.J. Joyce, 2018, published by Elsevier B.V.) under a CC BY-NC-ND license


Example uses

Photo and drawings of a detector array

A photograph and drawings of a detector array used for the assessment of spontaneous fission neutrons from 0.3% wt. DUO2 in research utilising the ADRIANA facility at Lancaster University. The dimensions stated here (in mm) were used to verify simulation of the detector set-up in MCNP-6

Reproduced from (© H.M.O. Parker, J.S. Beaumont and M.J. Joyce, 2018, published by Elsevier B.V.) under a CC BY-NC-ND license

The digital neutron assay system at Lancaster comprises > 32 organic liquid scintillation detectors (EJ-309) and, given the frequent need to access sources of neutrons, this component of ADRIANA is portable. Users are responsible for shipping costs and arrangements (UK-based university researchers can apply to the NNUF funded access scheme to recoup shipping costs). The system can be used with its associated 32 channels of digital pulse-shape discrimination firmware to separate neutron events from γ-ray events and to explore coincidence phenomena or time-of-flight correlations between these events. In the figure above, part of the system (15 detectors) is shown, courtesy of Elsevier, in use at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA. In this set-up the system was used to record high-order neutron multiplicity events (triples and quadruples events) to investigate the angular distribution of these emissions from spontaneous fission in 252Cf, for safeguards applications.

The broad energy germanium (BEGe™) and small anode germanium (SAGe™) detector systems (shown above) have been used for a variety of trace-level analyses of environmental samples. For example, these systems have been used to assess the abundance of 241Am in soils from contaminated land at legacy nuclear facilities, and to compare this to the contribution from other sources, such as that from the atmospheric nuclear weapons testing activities of the 1950s and 1960s. Trace assay of 241Am can be used to infer minor actinide abundance and can be used to compare to complementary assessment techniques, such as accelerator mass spectrometry.



The ADRIANA facility at Lancaster is open for external user access.


The ADRIANA facility at UKAEA is open for research, within appropriate COVID-19 control measures. Within those controls we are able to look to accommodate external users, either in person or (even easier) by UKAEA scientists delivering experiments on behalf of externals. In the first instance please do reach out to the UKAEA team to discuss requirements.


Please do reach out to the ADRIANA team, to start discussing access, at any point.



NNUF funded user access scheme for ADRIANA

As a first step, please email either Lee Packer ( or Chantal Nobs ( for a discussion about the practical feasibility of your proposed research project. Then, you will need to complete a simple NNUF application form. When doing so, please upload an email exchange between you and a member of staff at ADRIANA confirming the feasibility of your proposed research. Please see the access page of this website for more detail about the NNUF funded user access scheme.

© Lancaster University.