118 research outputs found

    Pushing the high count rate limits of scintillation detectors for challenging neutron-capture experiments

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    One of the critical aspects for the accurate determination of neutron capture cross sections when combining time-of-flight and total energy detector techniques is the characterization and control of systematic uncertainties associated to the measuring devices. In this work we explore the most conspicuous effects associated to harsh count rate conditions: dead-time and pile-up effects. Both effects, when not properly treated, can lead to large systematic uncertainties and bias in the determination of neutron cross sections. In the majority of neutron capture measurements carried out at the CERN n\_TOF facility, the detectors of choice are the C6_{6}D6_{6} liquid-based either in form of large-volume cells or recently commissioned sTED detector array, consisting of much smaller-volume modules. To account for the aforementioned effects, we introduce a Monte Carlo model for these detectors mimicking harsh count rate conditions similar to those happening at the CERN n\_TOF 20~m fligth path vertical measuring station. The model parameters are extracted by comparison with the experimental data taken at the same facility during 2022 experimental campaign. We propose a novel methodology to consider both, dead-time and pile-up effects simultaneously for these fast detectors and check the applicability to experimental data from 197^{197}Au(nn,Îł\gamma), including the saturated 4.9~eV resonance which is an important component of normalization for neutron cross section measurements

    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

    Neutron capture measurement at the n TOF facility of the 204Tl and 205Tl s-process branching points

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    Neutron capture cross sections are one of the fundamental nuclear data in the study of the s (slow) process of nucleosynthesis. More interestingly, the competition between the capture and the decay rates in some unstable nuclei determines the local isotopic abundance pattern. Since decay rates are often sensible to temperature and electron density, the study of the nuclear properties of these nuclei can provide valuable constraints to the physical magnitudes of the nucleosynthesis stellar environment. Here we report on the capture cross section measurement of two thallium isotopes, 204Tl and 205Tl performed by the time-of-flight technique at the n TOF facility at CERN. At some particular stellar s-process environments, the decay of both nuclei is strongly enhanced, and determines decisively the abundance of two s-only isotopes of lead, 204Pb and 205Pb. The latter, as a long-lived radioactive nucleus, has potential use as a chronometer of the last s-process events that contributed to final solar isotopic abundances

    80Se(n,?) cross-section measurement at CERN n TOF

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    Radiative neutron capture cross section measurements are of fundamental importance for the study of the slow neutron capture (s-) process of nucleosynthesis. This mechanism is responsible for the formation of most elements heavier than iron in the Universe. Particularly relevant are branching nuclei along the s-process path, which are sensitive to the physical conditions of the stellar environment. One such example is the branching at 79^{79}Se (3.27 × 105^{5} y), which shows a thermally dependent β-decay rate. However, an astrophysically consistent interpretation requires also the knowledge of the closest neighbour isotopes involved. In particular, the 80^{80}Se(n,γ) cross section directly affects the stellar yield of the "cold" branch leading to the formation of the s-only 82^{82}Kr. Experimentally, there exists only one previous measurement on 80^{80}Se using the time of flight (TOF) technique. However, the latter suffers from some limitations that are described in this presentation. These drawbacks have been significantly improved in a recent measurement at CERN n TOF. This contribution presents a summary of the latter measurement and the status of the data analysis

    First results of the140ce(N,ŇŻ)141ce cross-section measurement at n_tof

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    An accurate measurement of the140Ce(n,ŇŻ) energy-dependent cross-section was performed at the n_TOF facility at CERN. This cross-section is of great importance because it represents a bottleneck for the s-process nucleosynthesis and determines to a large extent the cerium abundance in stars. The measurement was motivated by the significant difference between the cerium abundance measured in globular clusters and the value predicted by theoretical stellar models. This discrepancy can be ascribed to an overestimation of the140Ce capture cross-section due to a lack of accurate nuclear data. For this measurement, we used a sample of cerium oxide enriched in140Ce to 99.4%. The experimental apparatus consisted of four deuterated benzene liquid scintillator detectors, which allowed us to overcome the difficulties present in the previous measurements, thanks to their very low neutron sensitivity. The accurate analysis of the p-wave resonances and the calculation of their average parameters are fundamental to improve the evaluation of the140Ce Maxwellian-averaged cross-section

    First results of the Am-241(n,f) cross section measurement at the Experimental Area 2 of the n_TOF facility at CERN

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    This research is co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Social Fund-ESF) through the Operational Programme Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning in the context of the project "Strengthening Human Resources Research Potential via Doctorate Research" (MIS-5000432), implemented by the State Scholarships Foundation (IKY). Also, the authors would like to acknowledge the support of the European Commission under the CHANDA project (7th Framework Programme).Feasibility, design and sensitivity studies on innovative nuclear reactors that could address the issue of nuclear waste transmutation using fuels enriched in minor actinides, require high accuracy cross section data for a variety of neutron-induced reactions from thermal energies to several tens of MeV. The isotope Am-241 (T-1/2= 433 years) is present in high-level nuclear waste (HLW), representing about 1.8 % of the actinide mass in spent PWR UOx fuel. Its importance increases with cooling time due to additional production from the beta-decay of Pu-241 with a half-life of 14.3 years. The production rate of 241Am in conventional reactors, including its further accumulation through the decay of Pu-241 and its destruction through transmutation/incineration are very important parameters for the design of any recycling solution. In the present work, the Am-241(n,f) reaction cross-section was measured using Micromegas detectors at the Experimental Area 2 of the n_TOF facility at CERN. For the measurement, the U-235(n,f) and U-238(n,f) reference reactions were used for the determination of the neutron flux. In the present work an overview of the experimental setup and the adopted data analysis techniques is given along with preliminary results.European Union (European Social Fund-ESF) through the Operational Programme Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning MIS-5000432European Commission under the CHANDA project (7th Framework Programme

    Monte Carlo simulations and n-p differential scattering data measured with Proton Recoil Telescopes

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    The authors wish to thank the National Center of the INFN for Research and Development in Information and Communication Technologies (CNAF) for their computational support.The neutron-induced fission cross section of U-235, a standard at thermal energy and between 0.15 MeV and 200 MeV, plays a crucial role in nuclear technology applications. The long-standing need of improving cross section data above 20 MeV and the lack of experimental data above 200 MeV motivated a new experimental campaign at the n_TOF facility at CERN. The measurement has been performed in 2018 at the experimental area 1 (EAR1), located at 185 m from the neutron-producing target (the experiment is presented by A. Manna et al. in a contribution to this conference). The U-235(n,f) cross section from 20 MeV up to about 1 GeV has been measured relative to the H-1(n,n)H-1 reaction, which is considered the primary reference in this energy region. The neutron flux impinging on the U-235 sample (a key quantity for determining the fission events) has been obtained by detecting recoil protons originating from n-p scattering in a C2H4 sample. Two Proton Recoil Telescopes (PRT), consisting of several layers of solid-state detectors and fast plastic scintillators, have been located at proton scattering angles of 25.07 degrees and 20.32 degrees, out of the neutron beam. The PRTs exploit the Delta E-E technique for particle identification, a basic requirement for the rejection of charged particles from neutron-induced reactions in carbon. Extensive Monte Carlo simulations were performed to characterize proton transport through the different slabs of silicon and scintillation detectors, to optimize the experimental set-up and to deduce the efficiency of the whole PRT detector. In this work we compare measured data collected with the PRTs with a full Monte Carlo simulation based on the Geant-4 toolkit

    Study of the photon strength functions and level density in the gamma decay of the n+U-234 reaction

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    The accurate calculations of neutron-induced reaction cross sections are relevant for many nuclear applications. The photon strength functions and nuclear level densities are essential inputs for such calculations. These quantities for U-235 are studied using the measurement of the gamma de-excitation cascades in radiative capture on U-234 with the Total Absorption Calorimeter at n_TOF at CERN. This segmented 4 pi gamma calorimeter is designed to detect gamma rays emitted from the nucleus with high efficiency. This experiment provides information on gamma multiplicity and gamma spectra that can be compared with numerical simulations. The code DICEBOXC is used to simulate the gamma cascades while GEANT4 is used for the simulation of the interaction of these gammas with the TAC materials. Available models and their parameters are being tested using the present data. Some preliminary results of this ongoing study are presented and discussed

    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
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