University of Dallas (UD) physics majors are offered a variety of undergraduate research opportunities in nuclear physics through an established program at the University of Kentucky Accelerator Laboratory (UKAL). The 7-MV Model CN Van de Graaff accelerator and the neutron production and detection facilities located there are used by UD students to investigate how neutrons scatter from materials that are important in nuclear energy production and for our basic understanding of how neutrons interact with matter. Recent student projects include modeling of the laboratory using the neutron transport code MCNP to investigate the effectiveness of laboratory shielding, testing the long-term gain stability of C6D6 liquid scintillation detectors, and deducing neutron elastic and inelastic scattering cross sections for 12C. Results of these student projects are presented that indicate the pit below the scattering area reduces background by as much as 30%; the detectors show no significant gain instabilities; and new insights into existing 12C neutron inelastic scattering cross-section discrepancies near a neutron energy of 6.0 MeV are obtained.
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This work was supported in part by grants from Department of Energy NNSA/SSAA Grant DE-NA0002931, the National Science Foundation under Grant No. PHY-1606890, and Donald Cowan Physical Sciences Institute at the University of Dallas.
Hicks, S. F.; Nguyen, T. D.; Jackson, D. T.; Block, S. G.; Byrd, S. T.; Nickel, M. T.; Vanhoy, J. R.; Peters, Erin E.; Ramirez, Anthony Paul; McEllistrem, Marcus T.; Mukhopadhyay, Sharmistha; and Yates, Steven W., "Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Nuclear Physics" (2017). Chemistry Faculty Publications. 100.