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

Description: Neutron generators based on the {sup 2}H(d,n){sup 3}He and {sup 3}H(d,n){sup 4}He 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{sup 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 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 10{sup 14} n/s, the thermal neutron flux at the sample was predicted to be 7.3 x 10{sup 5} n/cm{sup 2}s. 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 ...
Date: May 1, 2003
Creator: Lou, Tak Pui
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department