In the years after 2009 there has been a dramatic global shortage of the widely used neutron converter gas helium-3. This has increased pressure to develop new detector technologies. To facilitate this, the International Collaboration for the Development of Neutron Detectors (ICND) was formed  by the leading neutron laboratories, including FRM-II, FZJ, ILL, ISIS, SNS, JPARC and HZB. The detector group of the Working Group EM-AMCT took a very active role in this effort, coordinating the development of detectors using boron-trifluoride (BF3) gas. Two other alternatives which the collaboration is investigating are: (i) scintillation detectors (coordinated by ISIS), and (ii) detectors with multi-layers boron-10 detectors (coordinated by ILL). The urgency of finding an alternative to helium-3 is underlined by the development of large area detector arrays covering dozens of square meters and requiring the replacement of several thousand liters of helium-3, i.e. time-of-flight spectrometers. The project, no longer pursued today, had been taken to a stage where promising approaches for a safe operation of BF3-filled position-sensitive multi-tube detectors for the detection of cold neutrons in time-of-flight spectrometers had been developed .
Another focus of the activities of the detector lab was the development of a micro-strip gas chamber (MSGC) with gadolinium-157 as a neutron converter. This detector is characterized by a very high count rate capability (~1E7 n/s) and a very good 2-dimensional position resolution (<0.5 mm). In test measurements, a position resolution of ~100 µm could be extracted and a count rate capability of ~10 MHz could be extrapolated .