Associated Particle Neutron Generator

One of the biggest obstacles of neutron-induced gamma spectroscopy, especially with sealed containers, is limiting the background noise generated by events not originating in the sample being interrogated. A possible technique for overcoming this is the use of an associated particle.

The neutron source we commonly use is a deuterium-tritium neutron generator. This nuclear fusion reaction also produces an alpha particle. By correlating these alpha particles with neutron-induced gamma rays originating in the sample, background events can be drastically reduced. Also, if a pixilated alpha detector is used, the sample can be imaged, providing additional information about the localization of a potential threat.

We are currently working on both the detection of alpha rays and the development of a data acquisition and analysis system for an associated particle neutron generator, which must combine ~1-2 keV FWHM energy resolution, nanosecond timing resolution and imaging.

Below is a diagram of an associated particle neutron generator.



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