Photoneutron yield for an electron beam on tantalum and erbium deuteride



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An electron beam may be used to generate bremsstrahlung photons that go on to create photoneutrons within metals. This serves as a low-energy neutron source for irradiation experiments. In this article, we present simulation results for optimizing photoneutron yield for a 10-MeV electron beam on tantalum foil and erbium deuteride (ErD3). The thickness of the metal layers was varied. A tantalum foil thickness of 1.5 mm resulted in the most photons reaching the second metal layer. When a second metal layer of ErD3 was included, the photoneutron yield increased with the thickness of the secondary layer. When the electron beam was directly incident upon a layer of ErD3, the photoneutron yield did not differ significantly from the yield when a layer of tantalum was included. The directional photoneutron yield reached a maximum level when the thickness of the ErD3 layer was around 12 cm. About 1 neutron was generated per 104 source electrons. When using a 2-mA beam current, it is possible to generate up to 1012 neutrons per second, making this combination a relatively-inexpensive neutron generator.


© 2024 Korean Nuclear Society cc-by


Electron beam, Erbium deuteride, Metal hydride, Neutron generator, Photoneutron


Gillespie, A.K., Lin, C., & Duncan, R.V.. 2024. Photoneutron yield for an electron beam on tantalum and erbium deuteride. Nuclear Engineering and Technology.