EPJ A Highlight - A Liquid-Lithium Target for Nuclear Physics

The free-surface LiLiT flow, photographed while bombarded by a ~ 3 kW continuous-wave proton beam from the SARAF linac. The liquid lithium jet, ~1.5 mm thick, forced-flown at a velocity of 2.5 m/s at ~ 195 °C and supported by a 0.5 mm thick stainless steel backing wall, serves both as a neutron producing target and the power beam dump. The target chamber pressure connected to the accelerator beam line is 1×10-6 mbar.

A liquid-lithium target (LiLiT) bombarded by a 1.5 mA, 1.92 MeV proton beam from the SARAF superconducting linac acts as a ~30 keV quasi-Maxwellian neutron source via the 7Li(p,n) reaction with the highest intensity (5×1010 neutrons/s) available todate. We activate samples relevant to stellar nucleosynthesis by slow neutron capture (s-process). Activation products are detected by α, β or γ spectrometry or by direct atom counting (accelerator mass spectrometry, atom-trap trace analysis). The neutron capture cross sections, corrected for systematic effects using detailed simulations of neutron production and transport, lead to experimental astrophysical Maxwellian averaged cross sections (MACS). A parallel effort to develop a LiLiT-based neutron source for cancer therapy is ongoing, taking advantage of the neutron spectrum suitability for Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) and the high neutron yield available.

ISSN: 2195-7045 (Electronic Edition)

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