This paper describes the experimental characterization and Monte Carlo (MC) modelling of developed thermal neutron detectors based on p-i-n silicon diodes covered with micrometric layers of 6LiF, called TNPD (Thermal Neutron Pulse Detector). TNPDs are routinely manufactured at INFN-LNF for a variety of neutron measurement applications. TNPDs with different 6LiF thickness, in the range 10–60 μm, were manufactured and thoroughly modelled using two independent Monte Carlo transport codes: MCNP6.2 and PHITS. The simulations were focussed on determining the pulse height distribution induced in the detectors when exposed to thermal neutrons. A validation experiment was performed in the HOTNES thermal neutron calibration facility (ENEA/INFN Frascati, Italy). The simulated pulse height distributions matched very well the experimental ones in terms of both shape and energy-integrated quantities. No scaling factors were needed. This work is an important milestone for the INFN-LNF detector-manufacturing laboratory. In addition, it provides guidance for others who need to accurately predict the response of similar detectors in a wide range of applications.
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