Measurement of the thickness of B4C layers deposited over metallic grids via multi-angle neutron radiography

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Publication Details
Author list: Hall-Wilton, Richard
Publication year: 2019
ISSN: 0957-0233
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At the present time, different kinds of thermal neutron detectors are under development at the European Spallation Source research facility, in order to overcome the well-known problem of the He-3 shortage. One of these new systems relies on the use of a 3D neutron convener cathode that consists of a stack of aluminum grids, covered by a 0.9 mu m B-10 enriched boron carbide layer ((B4C)-B-10). As the conversion efficiency is a function of the boron thickness and the mean free path of the charged particles produced in the neutron induced reaction, the characterization of the boron carbide layer uniformity over the grids becomes crucial. In this work, a non-destructive method to map the thickness distribution of the converter layer over the grids is shown. The measurements exploit the white-beam neutron radiography technique where the specimen is irradiated at different angles. This experiment has been performed at the IMAT beamline operating at the ISIS spallation neutron source (UK). The results confirm that this non-destructive, wide-ranging technique allows a reliable and fast sample characterization and that it may be exploited in similar analyses where equivalent requirements are requested.

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