A mobile NRTA setup for identification of fissile
Abstract: Neutron resonance transmission analysis technique (NRTA) uses resonance phenomenon to identify the isotopic composition of unknown materials. Several mid-Z to high-Z elements have discrete energy levels 1 eV- 100 eV above the neutron separation energy. In this energy range, the transmission spectra of epithermal neutrons for these elements exhibit unique resonant signatures due to which NRTA has found its applications in the field of archaeology, warhead verification and spent fuel analysis. Presence and quantification of special nuclear materials such as U-235, U-238, Pu-239 and Pu-240 with NRTA is being explored, however its application is currently limited due to the availability of calibrated, strong neutron sources only at large experimental facilities. To eliminate this limitation, we have studied the feasibility of doing NRTA with a mobile, small-scale setup using a commercially available deuterium-tritium (DT) neutron source and an isotopic americium beryllium source. Time-of-flight is measured to provide the energy of the transmitted epithermal neutrons. Experimental measurements were performed for a variety of targets and the results on resolution in the transmitted energy spectrum demonstrate the capability of performing isotopic analysis using a compact and simple setup.
Bio: Farheen Naqvi is a research assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University. She is currently working in the field of nuclear security and policy and her research interest focuses on advancing the detection technologies having applications in nuclear safeguards & non proliferation. Before coming to TAMU she worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a research scientist in the applied nuclear physics laboratory. Originally from India, she has obtained her PhD from University of Cologne in Germany in the year 2011. After graduating, she joined Yale University as a postdoctoral associate and worked there until 2013. She also held a research associate position at National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University from the year 2013 – 2016. There she performed experiments to extract neutron-capture reaction cross sections on nuclei relevant for nucleosynthesis.
She enjoys teaching and working with students. As a mentor of the Atal tinkering labs in India, she tries promoting innovation and motivating young minds to think creatively.