Great progress has been made in recent years in realizing compact, laser-based neutron generators. These devices, however, are inapplicable for conducting energy-resolved fast-neutron radiography because of the electromagnetic noise produced by the interaction of a strong laser field with matter. To overcome this limitation, we developed a novel neutron time-of-flight detector, largely immune to electromagnetic noise. The detector is based on plastic scintillator, only a few mm in size, which is coupled to a silicon photo-multiplier by a long optical fiber.
I will present results we obtained at the Trident Laser Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the summer of 2016. Using this detector, we recorded high resolution, low-background fast neutron spectra generated by the interaction of laser accelerated deuterons with Beryllium. The quality of these spectra was sufficient to resolve the unique neutron absorption spectra of different elements and thus it is the first demonstration of laser-based fast neutron spectroscopy.
I will discuss how this achievement paves the way to realizing compact neutron radiography systems for research, security, and commercial applications.
Ishay Pomerantz, Itay Kishon, Annika Kleinschmidt, Victor A. Schanz, Alexandra Tebartz, Juan Carlos Fernández, Donald C. Gautier, Randall Philip Johnson, Tsutomu Shimada, Glen Anthony Wurden, and Markus Roth, "Laser-based fast-neutron spectroscopy (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10240, Laser Acceleration of Electrons, Protons, and Ions IV, 1024008 (Presented at SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics: April 24, 2017; Published: 9 June 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2264955.5463398625001.
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