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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Compact neutron generator development at LBNL

  • Author(s): Reijonen, J.
  • English, G.
  • Firestone, R.
  • Giquel, F.
  • King, M.
  • Leung, K-N.
  • Sun, M.
  • et al.

A wide variety of applications ranging from medical (BNCT, Boron Neutron Capture Therapy) and basic science (neutron imaging, material studies) to homeland security (explosive detection and nuclear material non-proliferation) are in need of compact, high flux neutron generators. The Plasma and Ion Source Technology Group in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is developing various neutron generators for these applications. These neutron generators employed either the D-D or the D-T fusion reaction for the neutron production. The deuterium or deuterium-tritium gas mixture is ionized in an RF-driven plasma source. The ions are then accelerated to ~;100 keV energy using high current, high voltage DC-power supply to a target where the 2.45 MeV (for D-D reaction) or 14 MeV (for the D-T reaction) neutrons are generated. The development of two different types of neutron tubes are being discussed in this presentation, namely compact, pulsed operation neutron generators and cw, high yield neutron generators. These generators are currently operating at D-D neutron yields of 108 n/s and 109 n/s respectively. A facility, incorporating the larger neutron generator, has been constructed for Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis (PGAA) and Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) measurements.

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