Neutron Emission Studies from Miniature and Medium Size Plasma Focus Device

Project Number

Project Duration
June 2008 - December 2009


There is growing need to develop neutron generators that are compact, long-lasting, efficient and inexpensive to construct and yet capable of using safe deuterium­ deuterium reactions to produce a high neutron yield or flux and can be tailored to meet a variety of specifications. Neutron-based techniques are materials specific - they can be used to identify the elemental compositions of shipping and luggage content. Fissile materials, as well as conventional and plastic explosives, can be detected using neutron sources. Container security screening market has grown from below $60 million per annum in the period 1993-2001 (focused on drug trafficking to an anti-terror screening) to over $750 million in 2006 and will be over $ 1.4 billion in 201o. Neutrons may be produced using a number of techniques including radioactive isotopic sources, electrophysical neutron generators, large research accelerators and nuclear reactors. Isotopic neutron sources produce continuous fluxes of neutrons and are relatively inexpensive. Isotopic neutron sources have the advantage of having a long useful life and have relatively constant flux of neutrons. However, isotopic sources have disadvantage that it can not be turned off; requiring that they be contained within bulky shielding at all times. Their energy spectrum is broad and peaks at energies below the threshold for some important reactions. Accelerator based neutron sources have resulted in creation of advanced neutron sources in many parts of the world with a Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) to be the most powerful. The accelerator based neutron sources are very expensive (SNS is at the cost of $1.4 billion )and bulky and hence they have their own set of limitations that keep them out of range for many of the industrial applications.

Funding Source
Alameda Applied Sciences Corporation

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