APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Homeland security
- Medical treatments such as Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT)
- Nuclear material detection
- Oil well logging
- High particle production efficiency
- Small size
- Direct particle acceleration (no acceleration column)
- Can operate at higher pressures (~10 mTorr) than technologies using linear accelerators
- Accommodates sealed tube operation
- Lower cost
Ka-Ngo Leung of Berkeley Lab and Arlyn Antolak of Sandia Labs have invented a novel neutron/gamma generator in which the electrostatic acceleration column is eliminated. As a result, the generator can be very compact in size—as small as 1.5 centimeters in diameter and 5 centimeters in length. Due to the elimination of the electrostatic accelerator column, the Berkeley Lab neutron/gamma generator can be operated at higher pressures, so it is ideal for sealed tube operation. This new invention can provide D-D, D-T, or T-T neutrons or p+ B11 gammas at high current density.
The generator consists of a sealed chamber; an RF antenna that can be placed either inside the ion source chamber or on the external surface of the chamber wall; a gas source; the target; a power source; and permanent magnets surrounding the target. After plasma is formed, a series of high voltage pulses is applied to the target to form a plasma sheath that serves as an accelerating gap. The permanent magnets suppress electrons at the target thus preventing creation of x-rays. For this reason, less power is consumed to generate a beam of a specific neutron or gamma density. The design is essentially the same, with changes in appropriate source gases and target materials, for creating either a neutron beam or a gamma ray beam, and it can be applied to low or high flux neutron/gamma generators.
To learn more about licensing a technology from LBNL see http://www.lbl.gov/Tech-Transfer/licensing/index.html.
REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2456
Schematic plasma-driven neutron/gamma generator.
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