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Title: The Los Alamos Neutron Science Center Spallation Neutron Sources

The Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) provides the scientific community with intense sources of neutrons, which can be used to perform experiments supporting civilian and national security research. These measurements include nuclear physics experiments for the defense program, basic science, and the radiation effect programs. This paper focuses on the radiation effects program, which involves mostly accelerated testing of semiconductor parts. When cosmic rays strike the earth's atmosphere, they cause nuclear reactions with elements in the air and produce a wide range of energetic particles. Because neutrons are uncharged, they can reach aircraft altitudes and sea level. These neutrons are thought to be the most important threat to semiconductor devices and integrated circuits. The best way to determine the failure rate due to these neutrons is to measure the failure rate in a neutron source that has the same spectrum as those produced by cosmic rays. Los Alamos has a high-energy and a low-energy neutron source for semiconductor testing. Both are driven by the 800-MeV proton beam from the LANSCE accelerator. The high-energy neutron source at the Weapons Neutron Research (WNR) facility uses a bare target that is designed to produce fast neutrons with energies from 100 keV tomore » almost 800 MeV. The measured neutron energy distribution from WNR is very similar to that of the cosmic-ray-induced neutrons in the atmosphere. However, the flux provided at the WNR facility is typically 5×107 times more intense than the flux of the cosmic-ray-induced neutrons. This intense neutron flux allows testing at greatly accelerated rates. An irradiation test of less than an hour is equivalent to many years of neutron exposure due to cosmic-ray neutrons. The low-energy neutron source is located at the Lujan Neutron Scattering Center. It is based on a moderated source that provides useful neutrons from subthermal energies to ~100 keV. The characteristics of these sources, and ongoing industry program are described in this paper.« less
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  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1875-3892; TRN: US1703255
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics Procedia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 90; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1875-3892
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
07 ISOTOPE AND RADIATION SOURCES; Spallation; neutrons; semiconductor devices; user facility; LANSCE
OSTI Identifier: