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Title: Compact D-D/D-T neutron generators and their applications

Abstract

Neutron generators based on the 2H(d,n) 3He and 3H(d,n) 4He fusion reactions are the most commonly available neutron sources. The applications of current commercial neutron generators are often limited by their low neutron yield and their short operational lifetime. A new generation of D-D/D-T fusion-based neutron generators has been designed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) by using high current ion beams hitting on a self-loading target that has a large surface area to dissipate the heat load. This thesis describes the rationale behind the new designs and their potential applications. A survey of other neutron sources is presented to show their advantages and disadvantages compared to the fusion-based neutron generator. A prototype neutron facility was built at LBNL to test these neutron generators. High current ion beams were extracted from an RF-driven ion source to produce neutrons. With an average deuteron beam current of 24 mA and an energy of 100 keV, a neutron yield of >10 9 n/s has been obtained with a D-D coaxial neutron source. Several potential applications were investigated by using computer simulations. The computer code used for simulations and the variance reduction techniques employed were discussed. A study was carried out to determine themore » neutron flux and resolution of a D-T neutron source in thermal neutron scattering applications for condensed matter experiments. An error analysis was performed to validate the scheme used to predict the resolution. With a D-T neutron yield of 10 14 n/s, the thermal neutron flux at the sample was predicted to be 7.3 x 10 5 n/cm 2s. It was found that the resolution of cold neutrons was better than that of thermal neutrons when the duty factor is high. This neutron generator could be efficiently used for research and educational purposes at universities. Additional applications studied were positron production and Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT). The neutron flux required for positron production could not be provided with a single D-T neutron generator. Therefore, a subcritical fission multiplier was designed to increase the neutron yield. The neutron flux was increased by a factor of 25. A D-D driven fission multiplier was also studied for BNCT and a gain of 17 was obtained. The fission multiplier system gain was shown to be limited by the neutron absorption in the fuel and the reduction of source brightness. A brief discussion was also given regarding the neutron generator applications for fast neutron brachytherapy and neutron interrogation systems. It was concluded that new designs of compact D-D/D-T neutron generators are feasible and that superior quality neutron beams could be produced and used for various applications.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
812459
Report Number(s):
LBNL-52766
R&D Project: 81FK01; TRN: US0303388
DOE Contract Number:  
AC03-76SF00098
Resource Type:
Thesis/Dissertation
Resource Relation:
Other Information: TH: Thesis (Ph.D.); Submitted to Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA (US); PBD: 1 May 2003
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; DESIGN; D-D REACTORS; D-T REACTORS; USES; COLD NEUTRONS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; DEUTERON BEAMS; FAST NEUTRONS; ION BEAMS; ION SOURCES; NEUTRON BEAMS; NEUTRON CAPTURE THERAPY; NEUTRON FLUX; NEUTRON GENERATORS; NEUTRON SOURCES; THERMAL NEUTRONS

Citation Formats

Lou, Tak Pui. Compact D-D/D-T neutron generators and their applications. United States: N. p., 2003. Web. doi:10.2172/812459.
Lou, Tak Pui. Compact D-D/D-T neutron generators and their applications. United States. doi:10.2172/812459.
Lou, Tak Pui. Wed . "Compact D-D/D-T neutron generators and their applications". United States. doi:10.2172/812459. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/812459.
@article{osti_812459,
title = {Compact D-D/D-T neutron generators and their applications},
author = {Lou, Tak Pui},
abstractNote = {Neutron generators based on the 2H(d,n)3He and 3H(d,n)4He fusion reactions are the most commonly available neutron sources. The applications of current commercial neutron generators are often limited by their low neutron yield and their short operational lifetime. A new generation of D-D/D-T fusion-based neutron generators has been designed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) by using high current ion beams hitting on a self-loading target that has a large surface area to dissipate the heat load. This thesis describes the rationale behind the new designs and their potential applications. A survey of other neutron sources is presented to show their advantages and disadvantages compared to the fusion-based neutron generator. A prototype neutron facility was built at LBNL to test these neutron generators. High current ion beams were extracted from an RF-driven ion source to produce neutrons. With an average deuteron beam current of 24 mA and an energy of 100 keV, a neutron yield of >109 n/s has been obtained with a D-D coaxial neutron source. Several potential applications were investigated by using computer simulations. The computer code used for simulations and the variance reduction techniques employed were discussed. A study was carried out to determine the neutron flux and resolution of a D-T neutron source in thermal neutron scattering applications for condensed matter experiments. An error analysis was performed to validate the scheme used to predict the resolution. With a D-T neutron yield of 1014 n/s, the thermal neutron flux at the sample was predicted to be 7.3 x 105 n/cm2s. It was found that the resolution of cold neutrons was better than that of thermal neutrons when the duty factor is high. This neutron generator could be efficiently used for research and educational purposes at universities. Additional applications studied were positron production and Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT). The neutron flux required for positron production could not be provided with a single D-T neutron generator. Therefore, a subcritical fission multiplier was designed to increase the neutron yield. The neutron flux was increased by a factor of 25. A D-D driven fission multiplier was also studied for BNCT and a gain of 17 was obtained. The fission multiplier system gain was shown to be limited by the neutron absorption in the fuel and the reduction of source brightness. A brief discussion was also given regarding the neutron generator applications for fast neutron brachytherapy and neutron interrogation systems. It was concluded that new designs of compact D-D/D-T neutron generators are feasible and that superior quality neutron beams could be produced and used for various applications.},
doi = {10.2172/812459},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2003},
month = {1}
}

Thesis/Dissertation:
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