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Title: Tests and calibrations of nuclear track detectors (CR39) for operation in high neutron flux

Abstract

The neutron beams produced by the Soreq Applied Research Accelerator Facility (SARAF) operating with the liquid lithium target (LiLiT) present scientific opportunities in nuclear astrophysics. Of interest are measurements (in our setup) of 1.5 to 3.0 MeV alpha-particles and 1.5 MeV protons, emanating from the interaction of neutrons with Be 7 . The deduced cross sections, are important for understanding the cosmological “Primordial Li 7 Problem.” However, major experimental challenges arise when measuring such low-energy charged particles due to the high flux neutron beams produced by the LiLiT (up to ~ 5 × 10 10 n / sec / cm 2 ). We present a study of the operation of CR39 nuclear track detectors (NTD), in such a high neutron flux. The CR39 plates were energy calibrated with 3.18 MeV alpha-particles from a Gd 148 standard radioactive source, and by using Rutherford backscattering of 1.5 MeV alpha-particles as well as 1.5 MeV protons from a thin (100 μ g / cm 2 ) gold foil. The plates were etched in a 6.25 N NaOH solution for 30 minutes at 90 ° C to produce micron-sized circular pits. The alpha (3.18 MeV) and proton (1.5 MeV) etch efficiencies were measured to be 93.3 ± 6.1 % and 8.7 ± 1.3 %, respectively. After etching, the plates were scanned with a fully automated microscope. A segmentation algorithm that addressed the challenges posed by the intense neutron beam was developed. A measurement of the interaction of cold neutrons with CR39 showed that the O 17 ( n , α ) C 14 reaction inside the CR39 was a major source of background. Since the tracks were formed inside the CR39, this background extended up to the full energy deposit of ~ 2.1 MeV. This neutron-beam-induced background inside the CR39 plates, observed here for the first time, will most likely be the limiting factor for observing ~ 2 MeV alpha-particles with CR39, in measurements of small cross sections (below a few mb) of ( n , α ) reactions. However, in measurements of larger cross sections, this O 17 ( n , α ) “background line” can be used as an internal self-calibration of alpha-particles with energies up to ~ 2.1 MeV , and thus allow to correct for piece-to-piece variations in the energy-to-track size calibration of CR39 plates.

Authors:
; ; ; ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Nuclear Physics (NP)
Contributing Org.:
Soreq Nuclear Research Center
OSTI Identifier:
1631789
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1631754; OSTI ID: 1634878
Report Number(s):
UConn-40870-20191006
Journal ID: ISSN 2643-1564; PPRHAI; 023279
Grant/Contract Number:  
FG02-94ER40870; FG02-91ER40608
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Physical Review Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Physical Review Research Journal Volume: 2 Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2643-1564
Publisher:
American Physical Society (APS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; neutron physics; nuclear track detectors; primordial lithium problem

Citation Formats

Kading, E. E., Aviv, O., Eliyahu, I., Gai, M., Halfon, S., Hass, M., Howell, C. R., Kijel, D., Mishnayot, Y., Mukul, I., Perry, A., Shachar, Y., Seiffert, Ch., Shor, A., Silverman, I., Stern, S. R., Stora, Th., Ticehurst, D. R., Weiss, A., and Weissman, L. Tests and calibrations of nuclear track detectors (CR39) for operation in high neutron flux. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.023279.
Kading, E. E., Aviv, O., Eliyahu, I., Gai, M., Halfon, S., Hass, M., Howell, C. R., Kijel, D., Mishnayot, Y., Mukul, I., Perry, A., Shachar, Y., Seiffert, Ch., Shor, A., Silverman, I., Stern, S. R., Stora, Th., Ticehurst, D. R., Weiss, A., & Weissman, L. Tests and calibrations of nuclear track detectors (CR39) for operation in high neutron flux. United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.023279
Kading, E. E., Aviv, O., Eliyahu, I., Gai, M., Halfon, S., Hass, M., Howell, C. R., Kijel, D., Mishnayot, Y., Mukul, I., Perry, A., Shachar, Y., Seiffert, Ch., Shor, A., Silverman, I., Stern, S. R., Stora, Th., Ticehurst, D. R., Weiss, A., and Weissman, L. Wed . "Tests and calibrations of nuclear track detectors (CR39) for operation in high neutron flux". United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.023279.
@article{osti_1631789,
title = {Tests and calibrations of nuclear track detectors (CR39) for operation in high neutron flux},
author = {Kading, E. E. and Aviv, O. and Eliyahu, I. and Gai, M. and Halfon, S. and Hass, M. and Howell, C. R. and Kijel, D. and Mishnayot, Y. and Mukul, I. and Perry, A. and Shachar, Y. and Seiffert, Ch. and Shor, A. and Silverman, I. and Stern, S. R. and Stora, Th. and Ticehurst, D. R. and Weiss, A. and Weissman, L.},
abstractNote = {The neutron beams produced by the Soreq Applied Research Accelerator Facility (SARAF) operating with the liquid lithium target (LiLiT) present scientific opportunities in nuclear astrophysics. Of interest are measurements (in our setup) of 1.5 to 3.0 MeV alpha-particles and 1.5 MeV protons, emanating from the interaction of neutrons with Be7. The deduced cross sections, are important for understanding the cosmological “Primordial Li7 Problem.” However, major experimental challenges arise when measuring such low-energy charged particles due to the high flux neutron beams produced by the LiLiT (up to ~5×1010 n/sec/cm2). We present a study of the operation of CR39 nuclear track detectors (NTD), in such a high neutron flux. The CR39 plates were energy calibrated with 3.18 MeV alpha-particles from a Gd148 standard radioactive source, and by using Rutherford backscattering of 1.5 MeV alpha-particles as well as 1.5 MeV protons from a thin (100 μg/cm2) gold foil. The plates were etched in a 6.25 N NaOH solution for 30 minutes at 90°C to produce micron-sized circular pits. The alpha (3.18 MeV) and proton (1.5 MeV) etch efficiencies were measured to be 93.3±6.1% and 8.7±1.3%, respectively. After etching, the plates were scanned with a fully automated microscope. A segmentation algorithm that addressed the challenges posed by the intense neutron beam was developed. A measurement of the interaction of cold neutrons with CR39 showed that the O17(n,α)C14 reaction inside the CR39 was a major source of background. Since the tracks were formed inside the CR39, this background extended up to the full energy deposit of ~2.1 MeV. This neutron-beam-induced background inside the CR39 plates, observed here for the first time, will most likely be the limiting factor for observing ~2 MeV alpha-particles with CR39, in measurements of small cross sections (below a few mb) of (n,α) reactions. However, in measurements of larger cross sections, this O17(n,α) “background line” can be used as an internal self-calibration of alpha-particles with energies up to ~2.1MeV, and thus allow to correct for piece-to-piece variations in the energy-to-track size calibration of CR39 plates.},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.023279},
journal = {Physical Review Research},
number = 2,
volume = 2,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {6}
}

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.023279

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