121 research outputs found

    A segmented total energy detector (sTED) for (n, Îł) cross section measurements at n_TOF EAR2

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    This work was supported in part by the I+D+i grant PGC2018-096717-B-C21 funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by the European Commission H2020 Framework Programme project SANDA (Grant agreement ID: 847552).The neutron time-of-flight facility n_TOF is characterised by its high instantaneous neutron intensity, high resolution and broad neutron energy spectra, specially conceived for neutron-induced reaction cross section measurements. Two Time-Of-Flight (TOR) experimental areas are available at the facility: experimental area 1 (EAR1), located at the end of the 185 m horizontal flight path from the spallation target, and experimental area 2 (EAR2), placed at 20 m from the target in the vertical direction. The neutron fluence in EAR2 is similar to 300 times more intense than in EARL in the relevant time-of-flight window. EAR2 was designed to carry out challenging cross-section measurements with low mass samples (approximately 1 mg), reactions with small cross-sections or/and highly radioactive samples. The high instantaneous fluence of EAR2 results in high counting rates that challenge the existing capture systems. Therefore, the sTED detector has been designed to mitigate these effects. In 2021, a dedicated campaign was done validating the performance of the detector up to at least 300 keV neutron energy. After this campaign, the detector has been used to perform various capture cross section measurements at n_TOF EAR2.MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 I+D+i PGC2018-096717-B-C21European Commission H2020 Framework Programme SANDA 84755

    Measurement of the 244Cm and 246Cm neutron-induced capture cross sections at the n_TOF facility

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    The neutron capture reactions of the 244Cm and 246Cm isotopes open the path for the formation of heavier Cm isotopes and heavier elements such as Bk and Cf in a nuclear reactor. In addition, both isotopes belong to the minor actinides with a large contribution to the decay heat and to the neutron emission in irradiated fuels. There are only two previous 244Cm and 246Cm capture cross section measurements: one in 1969 using a nuclear explosion [1] and the most recent data measured at J-PARC in 2010 [2]. The data for both isotopes are very scarce due to the di culties in performing the measurements: high intrinsic activity of the samples and limited facilities capable of providing isotopically enriched samples. We have measured both neutron capture cross sections at the n_TOF Experimental Area 2 (EAR-2) with three C6D6 detectors and also at Area 1 (EAR-1) with the TAC. Preliminary results assessing the quality and limitations (background subtraction, measurement technique and counting statistics) of this new experimental datasets are presented and discussed

    (n,cp) reactions study at the n_TOF facilitty at CERN: results for the cosmological lithium problem

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    The Big Bang Nucleosynthesis describes the production of the lightest nuclides from deuterium to Li at the early stages of the Universe. While a general good agreement is found for most of the isotopes involved in the synthesis, a serious discrepancy between the predicted abundance of 7Li and the related experimental observations is still present. This discrepancy has been referred since several decades as Cosmological Lithium Problem. In one last attempt to find nuclear solutions to this longstanding conundrum, the 7Be(n,alpha)4He and 7Be(n,p)7Li reactions, that affect predominantly the production of 7Li via the destruction of his parent nucleus 7Be, have been studied. Here we present the 7Be(n,a)4He and 7Be(n,p)7Li reaction crosssection measurements performed at the high-resolution n_TOF facility using the time-of-flight technique and high purity samples. The result of the experiments definitely rules out neutron induced reactions as a solution to the puzzle, thus indicating that explanations have to be sought out in other Physics scenarios.Postprint (published version

    Neutron capture measurements with high efficiency detectors and the Pulse Height Weighting Technique

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    Neutron capture cross section measurements in time-of-flight facilities are usually performed by detecting the prompt Îł-rays emitted in the capture reactions. One of the difficulties to be addressed in these measurements is that the emitted Îł-rays may change with the neutron energy, and therefore also the detection efficiency. To deal with this situation, many measurements use the so called Total Energy Detection (TED) technique, usually in combination with the Pulse Height Weighting Technique (PHWT). With it, it is sought that the detection efficiency depends only on the total energy of the Îł-ray cascade, which does not vary much with the neutron energy. This technique was developed in the 1960s and has been used in many neutron capture experiments to date. One of the requirements of the technique is that Îł-ray detectors have a low efficiency. This has meant that the PHWT has been used with experimental setups with low detection efficiencies. However, this condition does not have to be fulfilled by the experimental system as a whole. The main goal of this work is to show that it is possible to measure with a high efficiency detection system that uses the PHWT, and how to analyze the measured data.This work was supported in part by the I+D+i grant PGC2018- 096717-B-C21 funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by the European Commission H2020 Framework Programme project SANDA (Grant agreement ID: 847552)

    Measurement of the 154Gd(n,?) cross section and its astrophysical implications

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    The neutron capture cross section of 154Gd was measured from 1 eV to 300 keV in the experimental area located 185 m from the CERN n_TOF neutron spallation source, using a metallic sample of gadolinium, enriched to 67% in 154Gd. The capture measurement, performed with four C6D6 scintillation detectors, has been complemented by a transmission measurement performed at the GELINA time-of-flight facility (JRC-Geel), thus minimising the uncertainty related to sample composition. An accurate Maxwellian averaged capture cross section (MACS) was deduced over the temperature range of interest for s process nucleosynthesis modelling. We report a value of 880(50) mb for the MACS at keV, significantly lower compared to values available in literature. The new adopted 154Gd(n,Îł) cross section reduces the discrepancy between observed and calculated solar s-only isotopic abundances predicted by s-process nucleosynthesis models.Funded by SCOAP

    Measurement of the 154Gd(n,Îł) cross section and its astrophysical implications

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    The neutron capture cross section of 154Gd was measured from 1 eV to 300 keV in the experimental area located 185 m from the CERN n_TOF neutron spallation source, using a metallic sample of gadolinium, enriched to 67% in 154Gd. The capture measurement, performed with four C6D6 scintillation detectors, has been complemented by a transmission measurement performed at the GELINA time-of-flight facility (JRC-Geel), thus minimising the uncertainty related to sample composition. An accurate Maxwellian averaged capture cross section (MACS) was deduced over the temperature range of interest for s process nucleosynthesis modelling. We report a value of 880(50) mb for the MACS at kT = 30 keV, significantly lower compared to values available in literature. The new adopted 154Gd(n,Îł ) cross section reduces the discrepancy between observed and calculated solar s-only isotopic abundances predicted by s-process nucleosynthesis models

    Recent highlights and prospects on (n,Îł\gamma) measurements at the CERN n_TOF facility

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    Neutron capture cross-section measurements are fundamental in the study of the slow neutron capture (s-) process of nucleosynthesis and for the development of innovative nuclear technologies. One of the best suited methods to measure radiative neutron capture (n,Îł\gamma) cross sections over the full stellar range of interest for all the applications is the time-of-flight (TOF) technique. Overcoming the current experimental limitations for TOF measurements, in particular on low mass unstable samples, requires the combination of facilities with high instantaneous flux, such as the CERN n_TOF facility, with detection systems with an enhanced detection sensitivity and high counting rate capabilities. This contribution presents a summary about the recent highlights in the field of (n,Îł\gamma) measurements at n_TOF. The recent upgrades in the facility and in new detector concepts for (n,\g) measurements are described. Last, an overview is given on the existing limitations and prospects for TOF measurements involving unstable targets and the outlook for activation measurements at the brand new high-flux n_TOF-NEAR station.Comment: 7 pages, 5 figures (8 panels). Proceedings of the CGS-17 conference. To be published in EPJ Web of Conference

    Constraints on the dipole photon strength for the odd uranium isotopes

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    Background: The photon strength functions (PSFs) and nuclear level density (NLD) are key ingredients for calculation of the photon interaction with nuclei, in particular the reaction cross sections. These cross sections are important especially in nuclear astrophysics and in the development of advanced nuclear technologies. Purpose: The role of the scissors mode in the M1 PSF of (well-deformed) actinides was investigated by several experimental techniques. The analyses of different experiments result in significant differences, especially on the strength of the mode. The shape of the low-energy tail of the giant electric dipole resonance is uncertain as well. In particular, some works proposed a presence of the E1 pygmy resonance just above 7 MeV. Because of these inconsistencies additional information on PSFs in this region is of great interest. Methods: The Îł-ray spectra from neutron-capture reactions on the 234^{234}U, 236^{236}U, and 238^{238}U nuclei have been measured with the total absorption calorimeter of the n_TOF facility at CERN. The background-corrected sum-energy and multi-step-cascade spectra were extracted for several isolated s-wave resonances up to about 140 eV. Results: The experimental spectra were compared to statistical model predictions coming from a large selection of models of photon strength functions and nuclear level density. No combination of PSF and NLD models from literature is able to globally describe our spectra. After extensive search we were able to find model combinations with modified generalized Lorentzian (MGLO) E1 PSF, which match the experimental spectra as well as the total radiative widths. Conclusions: The constant temperature energy dependence is favored for a NLD. The tail of giant electric dipole resonance is well described by the MGLO model of the E1 PSF with no hint of pygmy resonance. The M1 PSF must contain a very strong, relatively wide, and likely double-resonance scissors mode. The mode is responsible for about a half of the total radiative width of neutron resonances and significantly affects the radiative cross section

    Measurement of the 14^{14}N(n,p)14^{14}C cross section at the CERN n_TOF facility from sub-thermal energy to 800 keV

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    Background: The 14^{14}N(n,p)14^{14}C reaction is of interest in neutron capture therapy, where nitrogen-related dose is the main component due to low-energy neutrons, and in astrophysics, where 14N acts as a neutron poison in the s-process. Several discrepancies remain between the existing data obtained in partial energy ranges: thermal energy, keV region and resonance region. Purpose: Measuring the 14N(n,p)14C cross section from thermal to the resonance region in a single measurement for the first time, including characterization of the first resonances, and providing calculations of Maxwellian averaged cross sections (MACS). Method: Time-of-flight technique. Experimental Area 2 (EAR-2) of the neutron time-of-flight (n_TOF) facility at CERN. 10^{10}B(n,α{\alpha})7^7Li and 235^{235}U(n,f) reactions as references. Two detection systems running simultaneously, one on-beam and another off-beam. Description of the resonances with the R-matrix code sammy. Results: The cross section has been measured from sub-thermal energy to 800 keV resolving the two first resonances (at 492.7 and 644 keV). A thermal cross-section (1.809±\pm0.045 b) lower than the two most recent measurements by slightly more than one standard deviation, but in line with the ENDF/B-VIII.0 and JEFF-3.3 evaluations has been obtained. A 1/v energy dependence of the cross section has been confirmed up to tens of keV neutron energy. The low energy tail of the first resonance at 492.7 keV is lower than suggested by evaluated values, while the overall resonance strength agrees with evaluations. Conclusions: Our measurement has allowed to determine the 14^{14}N(n,p) cross-section over a wide energy range for the first time. We have obtained cross-sections with high accuracy (2.5 %) from sub-thermal energy to 800 keV and used these data to calculate the MACS for kT = 5 to kT = 100 keV.Comment: 18 pages, 15 figures, 4 table

    Neutron capture cross section measurements of Am-241 at the n_TOF facility

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    Neutron capture on Am-241 plays an important role in the nuclear energy production and also provides valuable information for the improvement of nuclear models and the statistical interpretation of the nuclear properties. A new experiment to measure the Am-241(n,gamma) cross section in the thermal region and the first few resonances below 10 eV has been carried out at EAR2 of the n_TOF facility at CERN. Three neutron-insensitive C6D6 detectors have been used to measure the neutron-capture gamma cascade as a function of the neutron time of flight, and then deduce the neutron capture yield. Preliminary results will be presented and compared with previously obtained results at the same facility in EAR1. In EAR1 the gamma-ray background at thermal energies was about 90% of the signal while in EAR2 is up to a 25 factor much more favorable signal to noise ratio. We also extended the low energy limit down to subthermal energies. This measurement will allow a comparison with neutron capture measurements conducted at reactors and using a different experimental technique
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