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Thermal Neutron Imaging Using a High Flux Deuterium Ion Linear Accelerator

A novel neutron imaging system has been designed and constructed by Phoenix Nuclear Labs to investigate specimens when conventional X-ray imaging will not suffice. A first-generation electronic neutron generator is actively being used by the United States Army and is coupled with activation films for neutron radiography to inspect munitions and other critical defense and aerospace components. A second-generation system has been designed to increase the total neutron output from an upgraded gaseous deuterium target to 5x1011 DD n/s, generating higher neutron flux at the imaging plane and dramatically reducing interrogation time, while maintaining high spatial resolution and low geometric unsharpness. A description of the neutron generator and imaging system, including the beamline, target and detector platform, is given in this paper. State of the art neutron moderators, collimators and imaging detector components are also discussed in the context of increasing specimen throughput and optimizing image quality. Neutron radiographs captured with the neutron radiography system will be further compared against simulated images using the MCNP nuclear simulation code.

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