My research involves quantifying trace, toxic, particulate matter with neutron activation analysis. This is the neutron generator I use to irradiate air sampled filters, which are then analyzed by gamma spectroscopy.

Deuterium gas feeds into the magnetron on the left, which is ionized into plasma. The plasma strikes a deuterium film target in the chamber on the right, producing helium and a neutron beam. Aluminum then moderates the beam to thermal energy.


I worked with Westinghouse assembling fuel assemblies for several months. Very neat stuff, nuclear sciences.

@radiohacktive "moderates to thermal energy" - I'm not familiar with this expression.
Do you mean the neutron beam is contained by the Aluminium and it heats up... Or, what do you mean?

@bigkafka Please excuse my brevity, I was staying in character limits!

"Thermal neutron energy" (0.025 electronvolts) relates to a certain speed; neutron speed is inversely related to its likelihood of hitting a target, my sample.

A neutron moderator is a material upon which "fast neutrons" impact until the neutrons are room-temperature: the speed from colliding with thermal nuclei. Indeed the moderator will heat up, but the beam continues through the other side with just thermal neutrons.

@radiohacktive thanks... This makes sense although I'll need to learn more...

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