21-29 July 2022
US/Pacific timezone

Thermal cross section measurements at the RPI LINAC

26 Jul 2022, 10:42
Folsom ()



Dominik Fritz


Recently, a cold moderator was designed and developed for use at the RPI LINAC. This cold moderator proved to easily and safely couple to an existing neutron producing target, while enhancing neutron flux below 0.02 eV by cooling polyethylene down to 29 K. This cold moderator capability allowed for significantly improved counting statistics below 0.02 eV not previously possible due to a poor signal to background ratio. Additionally, testing was performed to characterize the energy resolution of the new cold moderator system and found the system easily capable of resolving resonances in Ta-181 at 4 and 10 eV, while also clearly resolving the Bragg edges found in Be metal below 0.01 eV. Following the design and development of a cold polyethylene moderator, a series of thermal total cross section measurements were performed for polyethylene, polystyrene, Plexiglas and yttrium hydride in the thermal region. These measurements serve to help validate thermal scattering law (TSL) evaluations in the 0.0006 – 20 eV energy range. For polyethylene and polystyrene, two sets of experiments were performed – one with the Enhanced Thermal Target (ETT) and another with the ETT plus the new cold moderator capability (ETTC). The yttrium hydride and Plexiglas measurements were only performed with the ETTC. The measurements for polyethylene help to validate the data processing methodology when using the ETTC, while extending the measured range of polyethylene down to 0.0007 eV. Two different Plexiglas, Plexiglas G and Plexiglas G-UVT, and two different concentrations of yttrium hydride, H/Y = 1.85 and 1.68, were measured. Overall, all materials had generally good agreement with their ENDF/B-VIII.0 TSL evaluations, though some discrepancies were noticed. In the case of the yttrium hydride, the high energy oscillations in the hydrogen cross section and the low energy Bragg edges in the yttrium cross section were clearly seen. These measurements represent the first total cross section measurements that encompass the entire thermal region from 0.0006 – 3 eV for polystyrene and yttrium hydride.

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