Innovation and Partnerships Office

Compact, Safe and Energy Efficient Ion Source and Neutron Generator JIB-2874, JIB-2875

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Oil well logging
  • Cargo screening
  • Research with neutron sources

ADVANTAGES:

  • Generates neutrons in similar energy spectrum and yields as radioactive sources
  • May yield more energy efficient and compact neutron generators

ABSTRACT:

Radioactive sources are used to examine different parameters of geological formations in borehole logging and soil porosity for oil wells. Replacing radiological sources of neutrons lowers the risk of proliferation, contamination of the environment, and damage to worker health. Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed ion source and neutron generator technologies yielding neutrons with a similar energy spectrum as radioactive sources. Their approach may lead to a compact neutron source that requires low energy to drive deuterium-deuterium, deuterium-tritium, or tritium-tritium fusion reactions that generate neutrons, replacing radioactive sources in oil exploration applications and others where portability is important.

JIB-2874
Berkeley Lab researchers modified conductive nanostructures with catalytic materials to enhance ionic species generation for neutron generators.

JIB-2875
The researchers developed a neutron generator including nanostructure electrodes optimized for producing ions.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle.

STATUS:
IB-2874: Issued U. S. Patent 8,790,350. Available for license or collaborative research.
IB-2875: Published U. S. Patent application US2013/004,4846. Available for license or collaborative research.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Persaud A., I. Allen, M.R. Dickinson, T. Schenkel, R. Kapadia, K. Takei, A. Javey. “Development of a compact neutron source based on field ionization processes,” Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B. 29(2):02B107 (2011). (doi: 10.1116/1.3531929)

REFERENCE NUMBERS: JIB-2874, JIB-2875

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