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Plasma-Driven Neutron/Gamma Generators

IB-2456

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

ADVANTAGES:

ABSTRACT:

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.

STATUS:

  • Published Patent Application PCT/US2009/046,759 available at www.wipo.int. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

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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Last updated: 05/03/2013