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Research

Neutron Activation and Gamma Spectroscopy

The RINSC has multiple methods for irradiating samples for Neutron Activation Analysis. Small samples can be put in “rabbits” and transported directly to the core using our 2 pneumatic rabbit systems. For larger samples the sample can be loaded into a basket and placed directly adjacent to the core before the reactor is started. Even larger samples can be placed inside our thermal neutron room located on the reactor floor.

For analysis of activated samples the RINSC has two Germanium-Lithium (GeLi) and 6 High-Purity-Germanium (HPG) gamma-spectroscopy detectors available. The detectors are used to identify and quantify radioactive isotopes present in solid, liquid, or gaseous samples.

Neutron Diffraction

Nuetron Image

The powder-diffractometer is used primarily for undergraduate instruction. It employs a mica monochromator and a custom collimator. The powder diffractometer has an angular resolution better than 1 arc min. The instrument is controlled by a local computer running software developed in house.

The other diffraction instrument is a Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) instrument. It employs a 2-dimensional position sensitive gas (3He) detector. This allows users to see a 2 dimensional histogram of the diffraction pattern. The detector and its shielding can be moved allowing a wide range of angles and orientations to be achieved. It is controlled using software developed at Oak Ridge National Lab's
Spallation Neutron Source. Data analysis software was
developed in house and is available to researchers by request.

Other Irradation

Irridation ImageIn addition to the reactor, the RINSC has an instrument calibration range that is equipped with a 40 Ci Cs-137 source, as well as a variety of smaller radiation sources. These sources are not only useful for instrument calibrations, but also for low level gamma irradiation of samples.

Current Research Projects

Detector Research for Brown University

The High Granularity Calorimeter (HGCAL) planned for the upgraded Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector will be subjected to a large radiation dose during several years of exposure to 14 TeV center-of-mass proton-proton collisions. Different types of sensors are being studied and optimized for the expected radiation dose. Important information regarding radiation tolerance and changes to the semiconductor materials can be obtained through exposure to neutron radiation at controlled levels. These studies will be important for critical decisions in the design of the HGCAL.

Dartmouth College Materials Research

Materials research is being performed on the potential use of carbon nanotubes in shielding material.

Princeton University Limestone Studies

Performing elemental analysis of limestone to understand how changes in sea level and ocean water chemistry are recorded in modern carbonates on the Great Bahama Bank. The project also investigates how chemicals and isotopes change from the open ocean to the restricted, shallow-water environments where carbonates form most rapidly