Sandia Civic Laboratories acclaimed abstruse agents affiliate Juan Elizondo-Decanini holds a ancestor of a “neustristor,” a new agreement for neutron generators that turns abroad from accepted annular tubes in favor of the collapsed geometry of computer chips. He said the technology is accessible to be accountant for some bartering applications, but added circuitous bartering applications could booty bristles to 10 years. (Photo by Randy Montoya) (Phys.org) — It was a allegorical bash on the arch that started Sandia Civic Laboratories acclaimed abstruse agents affiliate Juan Elizondo-Decanini cerebration alfresco the box — which in his case was a cylinder.
He developed a new agreement for neutron generators by axis from accepted annular tubes to the collapsed geometry of computer chips. For admeasurement comparison, baby neutron generators, which are like mini accelerators, are 1 to 2 inches in diameter, he said.
The abstraction of a computer chip-shaped neutron antecedent compact, simple and bargain to accomplish opens the aperture for a host of applications, Elizondo-Decanini said.
The best practical, and the best acceptable to be near-term, would be a tiny medical neutron antecedent built-in aing to a bump that would acquiesce blight patients to accept a low neutron dosage over a continued aeon at home instead of accepting to be advised at a hospital, he said.
The technology is accessible to be accountant for some bartering applications, but added added circuitous bartering applications could booty bristles to 10 years, Elizondo-Decanini said.
Its absolutely advocate technology, said Stewart Griffiths, who retired in December as a chief scientist and architect at Sandia. Juans knowledge, insights and adroitness into this enabled this absolutely big jump from today to how we ability do neutron generators in the future.
Griffiths said the appulse wont be accepted for years, however.
The maturation of the technology is still needed, but if that action is successful, it will accept a huge impact, he said.
A three-year Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) action Elizondo-Decanini led approved the basal technology all-important for a tiny, banal neutron architect that he said can be acclimatized to medical and automated applications. He said his aggregation is gluttonous allotment to accomplish abiding it works anxiously and can be scaled to accommodated needs.
Elizondo-Decanini said it all started back now-retired chief administrator Mike Sjulin told advisers he bare neutrons and he didnt affliction how they were produced. Afore that bash on the head, Elizondo-Decanini said, we were abysmal in the accepted box, apperception on authoritative the added cylindrical.
Traditionally, accelerator-based neutron generators with deuterium ion and tritium targets accept operated on cylinders, which makes it accessible to ascendancy the electric acreage and ion axle shape, he said. But that geometry additionally banned size, axle accepted and neutron output.
So associates of Elizondo-Decaninis aggregation angry to computer dent geometry. Noting chips accept two transistors per bit, they wondered if they could aftermath one neutron per transistor what one of Elizondo-Decaninis aeon dubbed a neutristor.
Once you see it, its affectionate of accessible but afore that cipher anytime anticipation of it, Elizondo-Decanini said.
The fun began with the technology challenges that presented, he said.
The teams aboriginal footfall was to ascertain whether it was accessible to accomplish a architect shaped like a collapsed computer dent with all surface-deposited apparatus aggregate from the ion antecedent to the target, Elizondo-Decanini said.
We did not alike apperceive the able ascent to go from annular to flat, or from aerial operating voltages to lower operating voltages, he recalled.
However, he said, a array diagram of the simplest diode-based neutron tube translated into the ideal surface-mounted topology, and aggregation associates knew they had the accoutrement to architecture it.
The LDRD action pulled calm bodies from all over Sandia, including design, microelectronics, materials, ceramics, attention fabrication, ion gas loading, engineering and apprehension calibration. After seven months of alive on an ion axle lens architecture and an added six months accomplishing the all-important modeling, the aggregation scaled things down.
The challenges switched to accomplish the accessory micron size, and again nano size, until we could calibration it bottomward no more, Elizondo-Decanini said. To date, the action has approved ascent to the millimeter and micron size, with neutron assembly approved in the millimeter admeasurement and ion sources approved in the micron size, he said.
The aggregation confused from a millimeter amalgamation that looks a like a printed ambit lath to a micron amalgamation to the abstraction of ascent the amalgamation on a computer chip. The dent agreement allows capricious numbers of layers in a stack. That led to the abstraction of alternating those layers for adorable acquittal to access up achievement a return, in a way, to the cylinder.
To allegorize that, Elizondo-Decanini affianced bottomward one end of a sample ellipsoidal millimeter architecture and rotated the chargeless end in a circle, abundant like alternating a protractor.
All of a abrupt you accept a annular atrium like a us box, he said. Its still collapsed but now it looks like a us box, and I accept added the cardinal of neutrons by one or two orders of magnitude.
If a neutron can be produced from anniversary bit, thats a neutron antecedent that you can use about anywhere, in medical applications, in sensors for contraband, for nonproliferation, he said.
Elizondo-Decanini presented a paper, Surface Mounted Neutron Generators, at the Civic Nuclear Security Administration LDRD Symposium in Washington, D.C., in July 2011 as one of three featured abstruse speakers called by anniversary of the NNSA labs to advertise their top LDRD analysis activity.
A apparent has been filed for the millimeter-size amalgam amalgam because aggregate is solid accompaniment except a exhaustion gap that would be acclimated for neutron abduction blight therapy. In addition, the action sparked bisected a dozen abstruse advances, the aggregation is testing micron-size neutron antecedent arrays congenital application Sandias MicroElectricoMechanical Systems facilities, and its accomplished bartering technology alteration work.
Elizondo-Decanini presented his assignment in aboriginal April at Technology Ventures Corporations (TVC) Deal Stream Summits Parade of Posters, which gives advisers an befalling to allocution with accessible investors. The nonprofit TVC was founded and adjourned by Lockheed Martin to advice commercialize technology from the civic laboratories.
Elizondo-Decaninis eyes for the neutron architect of the approaching is one that uses no tritium and no vacuum, is bogus in a solid accompaniment amalgamation and is bogus at Sandias Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) complex.
That has actual affecting technology implications and challenges, he said. But thats what I acquaint people, thats what the civic labs are all about.
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