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On the design and test of a neutron collimator for real-time neutron imaging in the MeV range

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A neutron collimator has been designed in MCNP5 and tested for feasibility of use in imaging applications. Tungsten, polyethylene, PVC and lead have been compared as collimating materials for neutrons in the MeV energy range; tungsten is predicted to be the most successful material for a restricted volume, giving the highest signal-to-noise ratio and the best resolving power. Experimental data has been used to confirm that tungsten works effectively as a neutron collimator although some discrepancies between real and MCNP5 results were observed. A suspension of tungsten powder in polyethylene has also been tested to address the machining difficulties, mass and cost issues associated with tungsten. This material performs midway between tungsten and polyethylene for a constant volume, and more successfully than tungsten for a constant mass therefore giving this material potential as a collimation material in some scenarios. Further MCNP5 modelling has been performed by varying model parameters and monitoring the collimator functions produced by these changes. These results are conclusive but dependent on the applications of the imaging system.