The sciences and applications of the Electron LINAC-driven neutron source in Argentina
Neutron Physics Department, Centro Atómico Bariloche and Instituto Balseiro Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica, 8400, Bariloche, Argentina
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Accepted: 21 April 2016
Published online: 27 June 2016
The Neutron Physics group at Centro Atómico Bariloche (CNEA, Argentina) has evolved for more than forty five years around a small 25MeV linear electron accelerator. It constitutes our compact accelerator-driven neutron source (CANS), which is dedicated to the use and development of neutronic methods to tackle problems of basic sciences and technological applications. Its historical first commitment has been the determination of the total cross sections of materials as a function of neutron energy by means of transmission experiments for thermal and sub-thermal neutrons. This also allowed testing theoretical models for the generation of scattering kernels and cross sections. Through the years, our interests moved from classic pulsed neutron diffraction, which included the development of high-precision methods for the determination of very low hydrogen content in metals, towards deep inelastic neutron scattering (DINS), a powerful tool for the determination of atomic momentum distribution in condensed matter. More recently non-intrusive techniques aimed at the scanning of large cargo containers have started to be developed with our CANS, testing the capacity and limitations to detect special nuclear material and dangerous substances. Also, the ever-present “bremsstrahlung” radiation has been recognized and tested as a useful complement to instrumental neutron activation, as it permits to detect other nuclear species through high-energy photon activation. The facility is also used for graduate and undergraduate students’ experimental work within the frame of Instituto Balseiro Physics and Nuclear Engineering courses of study, and also MSc and PhD theses work.
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2016