2/22/2010 Colloquium - Ying Wu
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Title: Development of a RF-Driven Compact Neutron Generator to be Used For Associated Particle Imaging
Date: Feb 22, 2010
Location: 3105 Etcheverry Hall
The development of a prototype compact neutron generator for the application of associated particle imaging (API) to be used for explosive and contraband detection will be presented. The API technique makes use of the 3.5 MeV alpha particles that are produced simultaneously with the 14 MeV neutrons in the deuterium-tritium (2D(3T,n)4α) fusion reaction to determine the direction of the neutrons and reduce background noise. This method determines the spatial position of each neutron interaction and requires the neutrons to be generated from a small spot in order to achieve high spatial resolution. In this work an axial type neutron generator was designed and built for a neutron yield goal of 108 n/s for a 50 μA D/T ion beam current accelerated to 80 kV. It was shown that the measured yield for a D/D gas filled generator was 2x105n/s, which scales to approximately 2x107 n/s if a D/T gas fill is used. The generator utilizes an RF planar spiral antenna at 13.56 MHz to create a highly efficient inductively coupled plasma at the ion source. Experimental results show that beams with an atomic ion fraction of > 80% can be obtained with only 100 watts of RF power in the ion source. A single acceleration gap with a secondary electron suppression electrode is used in the acceleration column, to suppress secondary backscattered electrons produced at the target. Initial measurements of the neutron generator performance including the beam spot size and neutron yield under sealed operation will be discussed, along with suggestions for future improvements.
Dr. Ying Wu is currently a postdoctoral research scientist for Oxford Instruments stationed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Nanofabrication group of the Molecular Foundry. He received his Ph D. Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009. He is currently working on non-invasive, real-time plasma diagnostics to correlate perturbations in the plasma to nanoscale etching.