HK3 - Thermal neutron analytical methods
Three instruments HC3-a HC3-b and HC3-c operate at the thermal neutron beam formed by short neutron guide tube. The neutron guide ensures an efficient transport of thermal neutrons from a Ć 100 mm horizontal channel of the reactor to small target areas of the HC3-a, HC3-b and HC3-c spectrometers. The neutron guide is built of a mirror type tube of rectangular cross-section, cylindrically bent in the vertical direction. It consists of 15 mirror sections made of glass plates of float type. The surface of these plates is coated with Ni reflecting layer with thickness of 2000 Ă. The internal cross-section of each mirror section is 4×150 mm2. The overall length of the guide is 5.63 m, the curvature radius being 825 m. In order to suppress a background due to a direct beam of gamma rays and fast neutrons, the guide is tightly surrounded by a combined shielding consisting of lead and polyethylene pellets. Unlike thermal neutrons, gamma rays and fast neutrons are not subject to reflections from the Ni coating and penetrate the guide walls. In the shielding around they are scattered and absorbed and only collimated thermal neutrons pass through. In addition, a biological shielding, formed by boron-doped polyethylene and lead bricks, is built along the whole guide. The shape of the incoming neutron beam at the entrance of the guide matches the cross-section of the guide. This has been achieved using a 90 cm long collimator made of lead with a rectangular aperture. Immediately behind the guide exit, the neutron beam is tailored by an additional collimator made of 6Li2CO3 to reduce the beam cross-section to 4×60 mm2. The flux of thermal neutrons at the guide exit averaged over the beam cross-section is (1.5±0.2)·107n cm-2 s-1. The cadmium ratio is equal approximately to 105. The above mentioned fluxes refer to the reactor power of 8 MW. Beyond the guide exit, the vertical divergence of neutron trajectories is characterized by angular deviations below 0.5°.