This work deals with the implementation of a NaI(Tl) detector for the assessment of the specific saturation activities of pure gold foils after neutron irradiation. These gold foils can be placed in the centre of a set of polyethylene spheres with different diameters. This configuration, known as a passive Bonner sphere system, is suitable to measure neutron spectra normally extended over a wide energy range containing up to 11 decades (from thermal to a few MeV), at places where the neutron field is very intense, high frequency pulsed or where it is mixed with an important high-energy photon component. The MCNPX code was used to evaluate the NaI(Tl) responses to different incident photon energies in terms of pulse-height distributions. An experimental validation of the calculated NaI(Tl) responses, using certified standard sources at a given measurement arrangement, indicates that MCNPX is a valid tool for routine calibration and benchmarking studies of this detector. A good agreement is found between the measured pulse-height distributions of the certified standard sources and those obtained from MCNPX simulations. As a preliminary application, a bare disc Au foil was directly exposed to a Bremsstrahlung photon beam at the isocentre of an 18 MV medical LINAC, in order to test the suitability of this activation material to measure the photo-neutrons generated in such facility. Two differentiated main photo-peaks, arising from 196Au and 198Au predominant γ-ray emissions, were observed. The two isotopes are produced mainly by the photonuclear, 197Au(γ, n)196Au, and radiative capture, 197Au(n, γ)198Au, reactions of, respectively, high-energy photons and thermal neutrons on the gold foil. From the measured 198Au saturation activity, a rough estimation of (378 ± 68) × 104 cm-2 Gy-1 was derived for the thermal neutron flux within the LINAC treatment room. This value, although being very approximate, is comparable to those reported by other authors for similar LINAC facilities but with different treatment room configurations, nominal acceleration potentials and Bremsstrahlung photon irradiation areas. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
|Journal||Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2009|
- Activation detector
- Monte Carlo simulation
- NaI detector
- Neutron spectrometry