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High-Yield Pulsed Neutron Generator

Award Information
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Branch: N/A
Contract: HSHQDC-09-C-00008
Agency Tracking Number: 721105
Amount: $500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2008
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
2003 E Bayshore Rd
Redwood City, CA 94063
United States
DUNS: 103403523
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Melvin Piestrup
 (650) 474-2750
Business Contact
 Charles Gary
Phone: (650) 474-2750
Research Institution

A pulsed neutron generator is proposed for the detection of special nuclear material. A recently developed microwave-excited plasma neutron generator will be pulsed to produce the activating neutrons whose pulse lengths vary from 100 microseconds to 2 ms with a fall time of less than 1 microseconds. We demonstrated that we can increase the peak yield as a function of either RF or microwave power, and thus maintain a high average yield. We modified two existing Adelphi generators to demonstrate pulse widths from 50 microseconds to 2 ms with repetition rates of 250 Hz to 5 KHz. We observed pulsed operation by observing the plasma photon yield and the fast
and thermal neutron yields. We found that the generator could maintain its plasma at low pressures even though it was being pulsed. We computer simulated the use of a gate electrode to both truncate the pulse fall time and determine neutron pulse structure. We fabricated this gate electrode and its accompanied electronics and installed them in an Adelphi generator. The electrode was shown to operate with the design voltages. The proposed Phase II generator is designed to be low cost, and mechanically and electronically robust, to ensure its wide distribution and use at ports throughout the world. The proposed
device is expected to be much lighter than the existing Adelphi generators and require less power. It is a high average yield generator that meets with SNM-detection-system integrators' requirements. The project has a high probability of success based on the Phase I research successes and recent development by Adelphi and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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