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Experimental demonstration of a compact epithermal neutron source based on a high power laser

Mirfayzi, S. R. and Alejo, A. and Ahmed, H. and Raspino, D. and Ansell, S. and Wilson, L.A. and Armstrong, C. and Butler, N.M.H. and Clarke, R. J. and Higginson, A. and Kelleher, J. and Murphy, C. and Notley, M. and Rusby, D.R. and Schooneveld, E. and Borghesi, M. and McKenna, P. and Rhodes, N. J. and Neely, D. and Brenner, C.M. and Kar, S. (2017) Experimental demonstration of a compact epithermal neutron source based on a high power laser. Applied Physics Letters, 111 (4). ISSN 0003-6951

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Abstract

Epithermal neutrons from pulsed-spallation sources have revolutionised neutron science allowing scientists to acquire new insight into the structure and properties of matter. Here we demonstrate that laser driven fast (∼MeV) neutrons can be efficiently moderated to epithermal energies with intrinsically short burst durations. In a proof-of-principle experiment using a 100 TW laser, a significant epithermal neutron flux of the order of 10 5 n/sr/pulse in the energy range 0.5-300 eV was measured, produced by a compact moderator deployed downstream of the laser-driven fast neutron source. The moderator used in the campaign was specifically designed, by the help of MCNPX simulations, for an efficient and directional moderation of the fast neutron spectrum produced by a laser driven source.