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neutrons essentially interact only with the

atomic nucleus

cross-sections can vary dramatically and

**erratically based on complex interactions
**

between all the nucleons in the nucleus and

the incident neutron

huge effort and money has been spent to

**measure these cross-sections for many
**

materials and a wide range of neutron

energies

Neutron Interactions

needed for shielding calculations and for many basic and

applied type s of research:

** neutron scattering, crystal studies, DNA
**

neutron activation analysis

neutron radiography, paintings

weapons research, neutron bombs

nuclear structure

neutron depth profiling

neutron dosimetry

Sources of Neutrons

nuclear reactor most prolific source

**energy spectrum from the fission of
**

from several keV to more than 10 MeV

most probable energy ~ 0.7 MeV

average energy ~ 2 MeV

**there are no naturally occurring radioisotopes
**

which emit neutrons

235

U extends

.

226Ra or 239Pu with a light metal such as Be or B the reactions that follow are: Be(. n)14N 9 there is a continuous energy spectrum .Sources of Neutrons 1. n)13N 11B(. one can manufacture a radioactive neutron source by combining an alpha emitting radionuclide such as 210Po. n)12C 10B(.

.

5 24.7 107 226 3.n) Source Avg Neutron Energy (MeV) Half-Life 210 4.Sources of Neutrons (α.400 yr PoBe PoB RaBe RaB PuBe n / Ci sec 1 106 .8 106 239 4.2 138 d 9 105 210 2.9 1602 yr 1.5 138 d 4 105 226 3.0 1602 yr 6.

n) reactions by choosing radioisotopes with a single -ray then monoenergetic neutrons can be produced the sources are produced in a reactor using conventional (n.) reactions except for 226Ra 's then interact as follows: Be(.Sources of Neutrons 3. Photoneutron sources using (.n)1H 9 .n)8Be 2He(.

62 40 hr 3 103 226 0.83 15 hr 1.Sources of Neutrons Source Avg Neutron Energy (MeV) Half-Life 24 0.35 105 24 0.024 60 d 1.9 105 140 0.22 15 hr 2.7 (max) 1622 yr 1 103 NaBe NaD2O InBe SbBe LaBe RaBe n / Ci sec .2 103 124 0.7 105 114 0.30 54 min 8.

n)4He .6 MeV 14.1MeV neutrons 2 7 H(d. P-N 3 H(d.n)3He .27 MeV Li(p. D-N.Q-value = 17.Sources of Neutrons 4.65 MeV positive Q-values means the nuclear reaction can be induced with only several hundred keV ions .Q-value = 3.Q-value = 1.n)7Be . Accelerator Neutrons particle accelerators are used to generate neutrons by means of nuclear reactions such as: D-T.

242 Cm. Spontaneous Fission Sources some heavy nuclei fission spontaneously emitting neutrons some sources include: 238 254 Cf. 244 Cm. 252 Cf.Sources of Neutrons 5. Pu and 232U in most cases the half-life for spontaneous fission is greater than alpha decay 254Cf decays almost completely by spontaneous .

65 years 252 neutron emission rate is 2.31 106 neutrons per second per microgram of 252Cf emitted neutrons have a wide range of energies with the most probable at ~ 1 MeV and the average value ~ 2.73 years with spontaneous nuclear fission its effective halflife is 2.3 MeV .Sources of Neutrons 252Cf undergoes spontaneous nuclear fission at an average rate of 10 fissions for every 313 alpha transformations half-life of Cf due to alpha emission is 2.

slow neutrons have energies between 0.0.01 MeV and 0.1 MeV fast neutrons . resonance neutrons.025 eV epithermal neutrons.1 MeV and 20 MeV relativistic neutrons .Classification of Neutrons neutrons are classified according to their energy thermal neutrons have an energy of about ~ 0.

Classification of Neutrons at thermal energies neutrons are indistinguishable from gas molecules at the same temperature and follow the Maxwell-Boltzman distribution: f (E ) = where: 2 E / kT 1/2 e E ( kT )3/2 ƒ (E) = fraction of neutrons of energy e/unit energy interval k = Boltzman constant 10-23 J/ºK T = absolute temperature ºK .

Classification of Neutrons most probable energy is: Emp = kT average energy at any given temperature is: 3 E kT 2 for neutrons at 293 ºK most probable energy is 0.025 eV .

Classification of Neutrons velocity: 1 mv 2 = kT 2 v = 2200 m/ sec neutron half-life is 10 minutes cold neutrons are much slower .

Interaction of Neutrons

neutrons are uncharged and can travel

**appreciable distances in matter without
**

interacting

neutrons interact mostly by inelastic

scattering, elastic scattering and absorption

Interaction of Neutrons

1. Inelastic scattering (n,n)

a part of the kinetic energy that is transferred to

**the target nucleus upon collision
**

the nucleus becomes excited and a gamma

**photon/photons are emitted:
**

12C(n,n)12C

this interaction is best described by the compound

nucleus model

Interaction of Neutrons

a threshold exists for such interactions

infinity for hydrogen (inelastic scattering can not

**occur) - 6 MeV for oxygen and less than 1 MeV for
**

uranium

cross-section for inelastic scattering is small,

**usually less than 1 barn for low energy fast
**

neutrons but increases with increasing energy

1 barn = 10-24 cm2

Elastic scattering (n.n’) most likely interaction between neutrons and low atomic number z fast most important process for slowing down neutrons interaction is a ‘billiard ball’ collision scattering reactions are responsible for neutron – slowing in reactors .Interaction of Neutrons 2.

mass M and velocity V hitting a nucleus m: . as a result of scattering collisions with nuclei which act as moderators (eg .water. graphite) n contrast cross-sections for inelastic scattering are small for low energy fast neutrons but increase with increasing energy consider a neutron with energy Eo.E.Interaction of Neutrons in general neutrons emitted in fission have an average energy of 2 MeV these fast neutrons lose K.

.. V m .......E...... 1 ....... (before collision) . M.. V1 m .E o . M... (after collision) ...Interaction of Neutrons .

Interaction of Neutrons total kinetic energy and momentum are conserved and we have: 1 2 MV 2 = 12 MV12 + 12 mv 12 and MV = MV1 + mv 1 solving for v1 and substituting into: (M .m) V1 = V (M + m) .

M +m 2 to target .Interaction of Neutrons 1 2 E 0 MV for incident neutron 2 1 and E MV12 we get 2 Mm E E0 M m the energy nucleus is: 2 transferred M-m E0 .E = E0 1 .

1 2 2 MV1 = 4mME (M + m )2 E = Emax for neutrons in a head on collision with hydrogen all the kinetic energy can be transferred in one collision since the mass of neutrons and protons are almost equal .Interaction of Neutrons 1 2 2 E max = MV when: M = m.

H2O) and also for abundance of H in tissue.Interaction of Neutrons important aspect in shielding for fast neutrons. (paraffin wax. n-p scattering is the dominant mechanism when neutrons deliver a dose to tissue .

033 U 0.017 1 4 9 12 16 56 118 238 .889 He 0.284 O 0.069 Sn 0.Maximum Fraction of Energy Lost.360 C 0. Qmax/E by Neutron in Single Elastic Collision with Various Nuclei Nucleus Qmax/E H 1.640 Be 0.000 2 H 0.221 Fe 0.

Absorption / Radiative Capture (n.Interaction of Neutrons 3.) capture cross-sections for low energy neutrons generally decreases as the reciprocal of the velocity as the neutron energy increases phenomenon called 1/v law valid up to 1000 eV if the capture cross-section σ0 is known for a given neutron velocity v0 or energy E0. then the crosssection at some other velocity v or energy E can be estimated: .

)7Li reaction is 753 barns for thermal (0. What is the cross-section at 50 eV? 0.025 eV) neutrons.8 barns 50 .Interaction of Neutrons E0 v0 0 v E problem the cross-section of for the 10B(n.025 753 16.

.

Interaction of Neutrons Total Cross Section of 238U .

Interaction of Neutrons as with 's neutrons are also removed exponentially when absorbers are placed in front of them: I= I0e-Nt where: σ = microscopic cross-section N = no. of absorber atoms in atoms/cm3 t = thickness neutron cross-section is strongly energy dependent .

Interaction of Neutrons problem: a 1 cm thick lead absorber attenuated an initial 10 MeV neutron beam to 84.3 gm/cm3? 6.03 10 23 atoms/mole 3 atomic density 11.5% of its value what is total cross-section given that the atomic weight of Pb = 207.29 10 atoms/cm 22 3 .21 and its density is 11.3 g/cm 207.21 g/mole 3.

1 barns (microscopic cross-section) macroscopic cross-section: = σN = 5.29 10 22 1 = 5.1 10-24 cm2 3.1 10-24 cm2 = 5.Interaction of Neutrons I Nt =e I0 0.29 1022 cm-3 = 0.168 cm-1 .845 = e 3.

n’) if NT target atoms with a cross-section σcM2 are being neutron irradiated with a fluence of n cm-2 sec-1 then the production rate of daughter atoms is: N T sec 1 .Neutron Activation production of a radioactive isotope by the absorption of a neutron. eg: (n.) (n.p) (n. ) (n.

N dt .Neutron Activation the number of daughter atoms is N having a decay constant the rate of loss of daughter atoms is N the rate of change is dN dt in the number of daughter atoms presented at any time while the target is bombarded is: dN = N T .

Neutron Activation assume the neutron fluence rate is constant and the original number of atoms is not being excessively depleted so NT is constant: let N = a + beλt be-λt = NT -a -b e-λt both exponential terms cancel out N T a= .

N T b= the final expression is: .Neutron Activation therefore the original solution is: N T N= + be t the constant b depends on the initial conditions at N = 0. t = 0 we get .

represents activity of daughter as a function of t σNt .is called saturation activity representing maximum activity at time t ∞ when neutrons are not monoenergetic as in a reactor.e t where: N . an average cross-section is used for σ .Neutron Activation N = N T 1 .

e t i where: ti = irradiation time td = decay time te = counting time e 1 .e t d t c .Neutron Activation the previous equation is the activity just at the end of production if one is interested in the activity sometime later the following terms must be added: N = N T 1 .

.

a. calculate the saturation activity in Bq .Neutron Activation problem: a certain radioisotope is produced by neutron activation of a sample that contains 5 1022 target atoms with an activation cross section of 2 barns the neutron rate. 1011 cm-2 s-1.5 hours. is constant the half-life of the isotope is 8.

Neutron Activation the induced activity A as a function of time t after starting the exposure is given by: A= NT (1.e-t) where: = neutron fluence rate or flux density σ = cross section NT = no. of target atoms in sample activity. starting with A=0 when t=0. builds up as t increases .

or saturation value As = N T = (10 11 cm 2 s 1 ) (2 barn) (10 24 cm 2 barn 1 ) (5 10 22 ) = 10 10 s 1 = 10 10 Bq . and the activity approaches its maximum.Neutron Activation when t becomes very large exponential term in above formula becomes negligibly small.

use with: A = N T (1 . calculate the activity reached after exposure for 24 h c.Neutron Activation b. what fraction of the saturation activity is reached at this time? solution: b.e t = 24 h t ) .

59 10 Bq fraction of the saturation activity is: 9 A/A s = (8.e 0.59 10 ) / ( 10 10 ) = 0.5 h) = 0.0815 h 1 therefore: 10 A = 10 (1 .081524 9 ) = 8.859 .Neutron Activation decay constant is: = ln 2/(8.

Neutron Activation problem: Three grams of 32S are irradiated with fast neutrons having a fluence rate of 155 cm-2sec1 .3 days a.02 10 23 = 5.64 10 22 N T = (155 cm 2 sec 1 ) (0.2 10 24 cm 2 ) (5.cross-section is 0. N T = 3 32 6.200 barns and the half-life of 32P is 14. what is the maximum 32P activity that can be induced? solution: a.75 sec 1 .64 10 22 ) = 1.

73 10 Ci 10 3.7 10 b. time t needed to reach 3/4 of the value can be calculated: 3 4 = 1 .75 11 = 4.6 days .7 1010 disintegrations/ second/Curie 1.Neutron Activation since there are 3.e t t 28. how many days are needed for the level of the activity to reach 3/4 maximum? solution: b.

the binding energy per nucleon for heavy elements (A > 230) decreases as the atomic mass increases . fission . charged particle reactions (n.important in neutron dosimetry 5. neutron-producing reactions (n.α) .p) (n.associated with high energy neutrons .2n) .Neutron Activation 4.14 MeV neutron accelerators 6.

f ) n+ 90 235 Kr U 90 A1 143 Rb X+ Ba + 90 A2 90 Sr Y + xn Kr + 3n 90 Y 90 Zr .Fission when a thermal neutron is absorbed in U (580 barns). 239Pu (747 barns) or 233U (525 barns) vibrations in these nuclei cause them to split (fission) under mutual electrostatic repulsion of its parts 235 in general: 235 U(n.

.

Distribution of Energy Among Products Released by Fission of 235u kinetic energy of charged fission fragments 162 MeV fission neutrons 6 fission gamma rays 6 subsequent beta decay 5 subsequent gamma decay 5 neutrinos 11 total 195 MeV .

2 curies/fission where t is in days .Distribution of Energy Among Products Released by Fission of 235U the fission process is bimodal in distribution all fission fragments are radioactive and there are several steps before stable daughters are produced decay of the collective fission-product activity following fission of a number of atoms is: A 10-16 t-1.

.

22 MeV -ray that irradiates the surrounding tissue 1 it is one of the two important interactions by which thermal neutrons deposit energy in tissue often seen as a background gamma-ray in power and research reactors .)2H which releases a 2.Neutron Reactions Important to Health Physicists H(nth.

α)3H which releases a tritium nucleus (triton) and a helium nucleus (alpha particle) it is used in many neutron detection instruments.t)4He or 6Li(nth. including thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) .Neutron Reactions Important to Health Physicists 3 He(nth.p)3H which is the basis for the use of 3He as a gas in several types of neutron proportional counters 6 Li(nth.

α)7Li which is used in neutron shielding and as the basis for neutron detectors utilizing BF3 gas or boron-lined counter tubes 10 N(nth.Neutron Reactions Important to Health Physicists B(nth. since the ranges of the proton and 14C recoil nucleus are short .p)14C which releases 626 keV and contributes approximately 1% of the total dose equivalent in soft tissue for neutron energies less than 10 MeV 14 the absorbed dose is delivered locally at the interaction site.

Neutron Reactions Important to Health Physicists 23 Na(nth.γ)24Na which activates human blood sodium the decay of 24Na (half-life = 7 15 h. two γ's of 100% intensity: 1.37 and 2.75 MeV) can be used to quicksort personnel after a suspected criticality 32 S(nf.p)32p which requires a neutron with a kinetic energy of at least 2.7 MeV in order to react (an energy threshold) this reaction is used in many threshold criticality dosimeters .

γ)114Cd which is used in neutron shielding and reactor control rods 113 In(nth.γ)198Au used for criticality monitoring (gold foils) 197 .γ)116mIn which is the basis for the popular indium foils used in many criticality dosimeters 115 Au(nth.Neutron Reactions Important to Health Physicists Cd(nth.

Neutron Reactions Important to Health Physicists 235 U(nth.f) which releases approximately 200 MeV of energy during the fission (f) process fission in neutrons U can also be caused by fast 235 .

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