Design and Simulation of a Boron-loaded Neutron Spectrometer
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The measurement of the distribution of kinetic energy carried by neutron particles is of interest to the health physics and radiation protection industry. Neutron particle spectral fluence is essential to the calculation of absorbed dose, equivalent dose, and other dosimetric quantities . Current methods of neutron spectrometry require either a large number of individual measurements and a priori spectral information, or complex and delicate equipment. To reduce these deficiencies, a novel neutron spectrometer, consisting of plastic scintillating fibers in a hexagonal array, was simulated via Monte Carlo. Fiber size and boron content were varied to optimize response characteristics. The results were compared to industry standard multi-sphere spectrometers. Of the geometries and materials analyzed, it was found that smaller diameter fibers with 1% loading of natural boron provide the best efficiency and energy resolution. Energy resolution was found to be similar to multi-sphere spectrometers, with the ability to differentiate on the order of ten energy fluence groups. Near isotropic angular response was traded for significantly reduced detection time and increased simplicity. Spectral analysis of individual fiber response can provide directional information based on the ratio of energy deposition by thermal neutrons to all neutrons. Future work using proton recoil spectral data from individual fibers will allow increases in energy resolution while reducing or eliminating the need for a priori spectral information.
Martin, Thomas (2012). Design and Simulation of a Boron-loaded Neutron Spectrometer. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from