Neutron-resonance transmission analysis with a compact deuterium-tritium neutron generator

Ethan A. Klein, Farheen Naqvi, Jacob E. Bickus, Hin Y. Lee, Areg Danagoulian, Robert J. Goldston

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7 Scopus citations


Neutron resonance transmission analysis (NRTA) is a spectroscopic technique that uses the resonant attenuation of epithermal neutrons to infer the isotopic composition of an object. NRTA is particularly well suited for applications requiring nondestructive analysis of objects containing mid- A nd high-Z elements. To date, NRTA has required large expensive accelerator facilities to achieve precise neutron beams and has not been suitable for on-site applications. In this study, we provide an experimental demonstration showing that NRTA can be performed using a compact low-cost deuterium-tritium (DT) neutron generator to analyze neutron resonances in the 1-50-eV range. The neutron transmission spectra for five single-element targets-silver, cadmium, tungsten, indium, and depleted uranium-each show uniquely identifiable resonant attenuation dips in measurement times on the order of tens of minutes. Closely spaced resonances of approximately 1-cm-thick multielement targets can be easily differentiated with 1-eV resolution up to neutron energies of 10 eV and 5-eV resolution up to neutron energies of 30 eV. These results demonstrate the viability of compact NRTA measurements for isotopic identification and have the potential to significantly broaden the applicability of the technique across materials science, engineering, and nuclear security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054026
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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