Tuesday, 28 August 2012

New neutron generation: Going from tubes to chips

Sandia National Laboratories’ work on neutron generation: Going from tubes to chips: https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/neutron_generator/

"It was a figurative whack on the head that started Sandia National Laboratories distinguished technical staff member Juan Elizondo-Decanini thinking outside the box — which in his case was a cylinder.
He developed a new configuration for neutron generators by turning from conventional cylindrical tubes to the flat geometry of computer chips. For size comparison, small neutron generators, which are like mini accelerators, are 1 to 2 inches in diameter, he said.
“The idea of a computer chip-shaped neutron source — compact, simple and inexpensive to mass-produce — opens the door for a host of applications,” Elizondo-Decanini said.
The most practical, and the most likely to be near-term, would be a tiny medical neutron source implanted close to a tumor that would allow cancer patients to receive a low neutron dose over a long period at home instead of having to be treated at a hospital, he said."

Also worth repeating is the benefits of having national labs: "Elizondo-Decanini’s vision for the neutron generator of the future is one that uses no tritium and no vacuum, is made in a solid state package and is fabricated at Sandia’s Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) complex.
“That has very dramatic technology implications and challenges,” he said. “But that’s what I tell people, that’s what the national labs are all about.”"

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