Design by Monte Carlo method of a thermal neutron device using a 241Am/9Be source and high-density polyethylene moderator

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Abstract

A thermal neutron system intended to be used in neutron activation analysis has been designed by Monte Carlo methods. The device is based on a241Am/9Be neutron source of 111 GBq, placed inside a cylindrical cavity open inside a parallelepiped of moderator material. Three different moderator materials, water, graphite and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), were simulated to check what is the most suitable for the detection system, concluding that HDPE reach the better performance. The device achieves an increased thermal neutron flux by taking advantage of neutron moderation in the polyethylene and the neutron scattering in the irradiation chamber walls. The thermal fluence rates obtained were 904 cm−2 s−1, i.e. 8.144 cm−2 s−1 GBq−1, with a fraction of thermal neutrons at the best point of 83% of pristine fast neutrons emitted by the source. The device has been designed by Monte Carlo techniques using the MCNP6 code, and the main tasks developed were to select the moderator material and to maximize the thermal neutrons flux in the irradiation chamber.

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Cevallos-Robalino, L. E., García-Fernández, G. F., Lorente, A., Gallego, E., Vega-Carrillo, H. R., & Guzmán-Garcia, K. A. (2019). Design by Monte Carlo method of a thermal neutron device using a 241Am/9Be source and high-density polyethylene moderator. Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 151, 150–156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apradiso.2019.05.040

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