Deuterium-Deuterium Neutron Generators produce a high yield of neutrons in a small form factor and are available without the regulatory burden of tritium.
Deuterium-Deuterium vs. Deuterium-Tritium
D-D neutron generators are an intermediate- to high-yield fusion neutron source compared to DT (deuterium-tritium) neutron generators, which have a higher yield and produce higher energy neutrons. DT neutron generators produce fusion reactions between deuterium and tritium, another hydrogen isotope.
A diagram of the DD (deuterium-deuterium) fusion reaction that occurs in SHINE’s neutron generator systems.
While DT neutron generators are more powerful than DD neutron generators, there are more regulatory burdens in place regarding their development, installation, and use. Tritium is a regulated material and produces beta radiation that is hazardous to humans, so DT generators require extra shielding.
DD neutron generators and DT neutron generators occupy separate, overlapping niches when it comes to their uses. DD neutron generators are the ideal system to meet your radiation needs if you require an intermediate neutron yield within the range of 109 to 1012 neutrons per second. For higher neutron yields, DT neutron generators are ideal. Our Alectryon systems can be configured as DT neutron generators for customers requiring higher neutron yields.
Thunderbird and Alectryon: Our DD Neutron Generator Specs
The Thunderbird300 and Alectryon300 are compact, intermediate- to high-yield deuterium-deuterium (DD) neutron generators. Our DD neutron generators were designed for customers who require a high neutron yield, do not want to deal with the regulatory burdens associated with tritium neutron generator systems, and have limitations in terms of the physical size and weight of the system.
Thunderbird Neutron Yield
We believe Thunderbird is the highest output solid target DD neutron generator available. Because the system uses no tritium, the regulatory burden and required shielding are significantly reduced. Thunderbird is a lower flux system but is compact enough to be self-shielded, allowing it to be used without a bunker.
Thunderbird utilizes a self-loading, self-impregnating solid target to produce variable neutron output between 1×109 and 1×1011 neutrons per second. The solid target is composed of titanium and copper, and because it is self-loaded, its lifetime is drastically increased compared to other solid target systems, with a lifetime exceeding 10,000 hours. Furthermore, the system’s neutron yield remains constant over the life of the target, thanks to a propriety target cleaning and replenishing procedure that can be performed while the system is in operation.
The Thunderbird system is packaged with an integrated control system, all power supplies, and all other associated electronics. Shielding and moderator material is available upon request. The form factor of this system can be modified within certain bounds to fit within an existing facility.
Our largest DD system, the Alectryon300, can be used for neutron imaging/neutron radiography, radiation effects testing, and other experimental work requiring a high flux with large irradiation zone. A thermal neutron flux cavity is indispensable for testing radiation shielding components or performing radiation survivability testing or radiation hardening on items.
Thermal neutrons, or neutrons which have been slowed down by a moderator such that their energies drop to around 0.025 eV, are frequently used to simulate the conditions of high-radiation environments. Our DD high yield neutron generators can apply a uniform thermal flux as high as 108 neutrons per square centimeter per second to relatively large neutron flux cavities, enabling radiation hardening and effects testing for large parts.
Applications for DD neutron generators
Our DD neutron generator systems are useful for a number of different applications including nuclear fuel scanning, fast neutron radiography, neutron activation analysis (NAA), and as a source for thermal neutron flux cavities.
SHINE Systems and Manufacturing has developed nuclear fuel inspection systems relying on our Thunderbird system as a neutron source. Neutron radiation is used to check the enrichment levels in the uranium fuel pellets inside fuel rods used in nuclear reactors to ensure that they can be used safely. Typically, the neutron sources used in fuel rod testing systems are californium-252, a synthesized isotope of californium that produces massive amounts of neutron radiation. Since californium-252 does not occur in nature, it can be difficult to procure. Additionally, it only has a half-life of 2.5 years, so it must be replaced regularly. A deuterium-deuterium neutron source can provide sufficient neutron yield for fuel rod inspection without the drawbacks associated with this element.
To inquire about purchasing a D-D neutron generator system, contact our applications specialists: