An Inexpensive, Efficient Neutron Monochromator
Small Business Information
2181 Park Boulevard, Palo Alto, CA, 94306
Abstract70585S02-II The most favored techniques for monochromatizing neutron beams, needed for medical, industrial and scientific purposes, are mechanical reflection and diffraction methods, both of which have limited efficiency and great cost. Furthermore, neutrons can be used for imaging, particularly for objects that are invisible to x-rays, light, or other techniques; however, neutron imaging has not been developed due to a lack of sufficient optics. This project will design and fabricate high-performance neutron optics that use compound refractive lenses. Such lenses can be used to form direct neutron images of objects or to monochromatize, collect, collimate, or focus neutrons. Phase I designed and fabricated prototype compound refractive lenses for neutrons. The same lenses were used both for constructing a monochromator and for imaging. Theory and experiments demonstrated a working monochromator as well as the successful thermal neutron imaging of both inorganic and biological materials. Phase II will construct a high-resolution neutron imaging system and high-performance neutron conditioning optics for monochromatizing, collimating, collecting, and focusing neutrons. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: Quasi-monochromatic, well collimated, intense cold and thermal neutron beams should have application to diffractometry, reflectometry, and spectroscopy, satisfying a pent-up demand for improved neutron conditioning optics. However, the most significant benefit of the proposed compound refractive neutron lenses should be direct imaging using neutrons, which would enable the high-resolution visualization of such materials as hydrocarbons and biological specimens, even when viewed through thick metal containers. This would have application to non-destructive testing, homeland security, and biomedicine.
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