Neutron Research Group
Neutron Research Group
The Neutron Research Group (NRG), coordinated by prof. Marco Costa, starts its research activities in 2016 with the aim at creating an accelerator based neutron facility to produce intense thermal and epithermal neutron fields for different interdisciplinary applications: novel active neutron detector development, advanced neutron technologies, neutron detector characterization and calibration, BNCT preclinical studies, neutron activation analysis and material studies.
Following a feasibility study carried in the frame of INFN projects, involving Torino and Trieste units, and thanks to the collaboration of some medical physicists, a linear accelerator ELEKTA SL 25 was eventually installed at the Physics Department of the University of Torino in 2016. This new infrastructure has been financially supported by UNITO Open Access Lab project, CRT and INFN with the aim at being devoted to research purpose and third mission issues.
The LINAC can be used as a monochromatic source of electrons with energies varying from 4 to 18 MeV, or as a gamma source, or can be coupled to a suitable beam-assembly, developed by NRG, to provide intense pulsed thermal/epithermal neutron fields in a close cavity.
The facility is accounted as part of the international Union of Compact Accelerator Based Neutron Source (UCANS)
The Neutron Research Group main projects are:
- Electron Linac Based Actively monitored Neutrons Source (E_LIBANS) was financially supported by INFN CSN 5 from 2016 to 2018 and it was carried out in collaboration with Laboratori Nazionali Frascati, Milano and Trieste INFN units. It aimed at producing intense thermal neutron field coupling the Torino linear electron accelerator with a photo converter / moderator assembly, equipped with a 30x30x10 cm3 irradiation cavity. The obtained thermal neutron spectrum is characterized by a neutron fluence rate of the order of 106 cm-2 s-1, a very low gamma contamination and nearly constant homogeneity profile in the irradiation cavity. Novel active thermal neutron detectors, originally designed by the LNF and Milano groups, were used to characterize the Torino facility and they proved to work efficiently in intense and pulsed neutron field, with very high neutron-to-photon discrimination capability.
- Advanced Neutron Technologies (ANET) is financially supported by CSN 5 from 2019 to 2021, it aims at providing a significant step forward in the techniques for collimating thermal and epithermal neutrons. The goal of the project is to develop a compact neutron collimator, with high L/d ratio, suitable for application in neutron imaging. A compact collimator, with a length reduced to 1 m, would allow to spread out neutron imaging technique and to make it accessible for many industrial application. A patent (P3263IT00) has been presented on this subject. The project is carrying out in collaboration with LNF, Pavia and Trieste INFN units.
- Establishing New TEchnologies foR BNCT @CNAO (ENTER_BNCT) is financially supported by CSN 5 from 2020 to 2022. It involves LNF, LNL and Pavia and Torino INFN units. ENTER_BNCT aims at developing the technologies necessary to fill the gap between research and clinical application of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT). The motivation of this project stems from the programme of installing at CNAO the RFQ accelerator manufactured by LNL group, establishing a new clinical facility in the field of hadrontherapy. This will be the first centre in the world where patients can access all types of hadrontherapy, opening the way to combined and more personalized treatments. The group’s objective is to provide neutron diagnostics (a directional spectrometer and in phantom dosimeters) for the measurement and the characterisation of the therapeutic neutron beam used for the BNCT.