Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Atmosphere, Oceans, and Climate

Students make neutrons dance beneath Berkeley campus

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Photo: To create neutrons in the high flux neutron generator, UC Berkeley researchers heat up deuterium atoms in a vacuum chamber to 50,000 degrees Celsius to obtain an ionized plasma (pink glow), then accelerate the ions until they collide and fuse with other deuterium atoms implanted in the titanium cathode, releasing neutrons in the process. The spiral coil is the water-cooled radio-frequency antenna that heats the plasma, viewed through a quartz window into the vacuum chamber. (UC Berkeley photo by Cory Waltz)

EPS Postdoc Daniel Rutte, working with Prof. Paul Renne and colleagues at the Berkeley Geochronology Center and the Dept. of Nuclear Engineering, have built and tested a customized neutron generator designed to improve the Ar-Ar dating method. Other applications include medical isotope production and nuclear forensics. The results are published in the September 11 issue of Science Advances.

For article in the Berkeley News, "Students make neutrons dance beneath Berkeley campus".