Tailoring Neutron Beams for Specialized Applications
Numerous research fields are interested in an accurate and efficient methodology to tailor available neutron spectra to their specific application needs. For example, neutron sources that meet the requirements for producing synthetic debris and fission products (FPs) for post-detonation nuclear forensics, detector calibrations, study of radiation damage to different materials, cross section measurement and validation, materials science, design of targets for the production of medical isotopes, or medical applications such as Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) often do not exist. Each of these applications has widely varying neutron spectrum and intensity requirements, making progress in one area difficult to apply to other areas using the current set of tools and literature basis. The lack of a coherent, coordinated approach to a difficult problem at least partially explains why state-of-the-art spectral modification techniques have not advanced significantly over the last several decades. We have been working on the development of an optimization software package for automated tailoring of neutron beam characteristics based on a metaheuristic optimization approach and a set of pre-determined constraints.