A broad spectrum neutron spectrometer utilizing a high energy Bonner sphere extension

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Burgett, Eric A.
Hertel, Nolan E.
Howell, Rebecca
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A novel broad spectrum neutron spectrometer has been created to extend the useful energy range of existing neutron Bonner Sphere Spectrometers (BSS). Both an active LiI(Eu) scintillator probe and passive gold foil detector were utilized to extend the energy response of the existing BSS. Above 20 MeV the energy structure for the standard polyethylene BSS are poor because the response functions are not unique. MCNPX was used to investigate several modifications to the BSS system which resulted in the Bonner Sphere Extension (BSE). This cost effective extension uses several concentric spheres of copper, lead, and tungsten heavy metal downscatter materials to extend the useful range of the current BSS from 20 MeV to above 1 GeV. Using both a 3" and 5" inner polyethylene spheres, aluminum shell sets were made with a 1" cavity and filled with the high Z materials for six total sets of spheres. a 12" and 8" polyethylene sphere were also milled to accept the heavy metal spheres. The system was validated at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) neutron beam. The system was calibrated at LANSCE for neutrons up to 800 MeV on target 4's 15 degree right flightpath (4FP15R) at 90 meters. Detailed models in MCNPX were made of the BSS, BSE and LANSCE facilities. Fine group responses were made and compared to the unfolded data from LANSCE. A vast improvement over the BSS system alone was seen with reasonable agreement with time of flight data measured at LANSCE and MCNPX calculated neutron spectra.
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