Neutron interactions with matter provides unique tools for investigating a range of characteristic and properties. Experiment facilities at the NETL reactor include in-core and ex-core irradiation sites supporting various nuclear analytic techniques, and a full suite of gamma spectroscopic analysis systems. 

 

In-core facilities are used principally to produce radioactive isotopes.  The isotopes are analyzed to determine concentrations of a large number of elements in a process called neutron activation analysis, or are deployed in research programs.  There is a range of nuclear characteristics available at the NETL's multiple sample delivery systems, providing flexibility for a broad set of applications.

In-Core Facilities                                

list of Facility and the maximum neutron flux next to an illustration of the nuclear core

Facility                     
Max Neutron Flux
n/cm2-s
Rotary Specimen rack 
(not shown)                   
2x1012
                           
Central Thimble
1x1011
Cd Ratio 4.6
Cadmium Lined P-Tube
5x1011
Thermal P-Tube
2.7x1012
Lead lined 3-Element
TBD
Cadmium Lined 3-Element
TBD

Ex-core irradiation sites have been developed to provide capabilities for neutron depth profiling, prompt gamma activation analysis, and neutron radiography.  A cold source expands the potential of these techniques using low energy neutrons.  A positron source is currently in development.

Neutron Depth Profiling is the measurement of distribution of a select set of elements in samples such as boron in transistors, hydrogen in batteries.

Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis expands the range of measurement of elemental concentration in samples to some elements that cannot be analyzed using decay gammas.

Neutron Radiography is similar to x-ray techniques, but the characteristics of neutron interaction with matter provides capabilities for extracting different kinds of information from a sample.


beam ports Beam Port Utilization
Neutron Flux
n/cm2-s
Cadmium
Ratio
BP-1
Positron Source
~1x1012
inside
~1x105
outside
NA
BP-2
Neutron Depth Profiling
1.2x106
293
BP-3
PGAA with cold source
5.3x106
81,000
BP-3
NDP with cold source
5.3x1011
81,000
BP-4
Radial Beam Port
4.6x1011
58
BP-5
Neutron Radiography
1.2x106
2.6

Gamma-Ray Spectrometry

The NETL facilities utilize a set of gamma detectors that include a Compton suppression system, gamma gamma coincidence based analysis, and several more traditional high efficiency detection systems for the measurement and assay of radioactive materials.

view of lab with equipment
view of lab with equipment
illustration of HPGe detector
Pneumatic Irradiation System Gamma Spectroscopy System Typical HPGe