NE Seminar: “Nuclear Data for Applications”


1:50 pm-2:50 pm
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Yaron Denon, Ph.D.

Professor, NE Program Director
Director of the Gaerttner Electron Linear Accelerator
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Dr. Yaron Denon is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the Director of the Nuclear Engineering Program. He received both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Science from RPI. 

Dr. Danon is the Director of the Gaerttner Electron Linear Accelerator (LINAC) Center at RPI, which houses a powerful 60 MeV pulsed electron LINAC used primarily as an intense pulsed neutron and gamma source. Dr. Danon’s nuclear data research group develops methods and performs experiments to measure neutron-induced reactions and cross-sections. Dr. Danon is the Chairman of the Measurements Committee of the US Cross Section Evaluation Working Group (CSEWG) and reports on US measurement activity to the Working Party on International Nuclear Data Evaluation Co-operation (WPEC). Dr. Danon is also a member of the Nuclear Data Advisory Group (NDAG) that advises the US DOE Nuclear Criticality Safety Program (NCSP) on issues relating to nuclear data. He is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society. 

Dr. Danon’s group develops novel radiation detectors, data acquisition systems, and data analysis methods for nuclear data and other applications. This research includes the development of novel high efficiency, large area, zero bias solid-state neutron detectors. 

In addition to nuclear data activities, Dr. Danon is a pioneer in the area of pyroelectric crystal acceleration. Together with his students, he developed x-ray and neutron sources that utilize simple heating of these crystals and thus eliminate the requirement for a high voltage power supply. Current research includes laser or light-driven crystal-based accelerators. Dr. Danon published over 102 articles in archived journals, 158 in peer review conferences, and presented more than 107 invited talks. He advised 23 Ph.D., 10 M.S, and 5 M.Eng students that graduated; he currently advises 6 Ph.D. students and teaches courses on radiation technology and physics of nuclear reactors 


The fundamental nuclear reaction quantities in radiation transport calculations are the neutron interaction cross-sections. The uncertainties and inaccuracies of the cross-sections propagate to the results of such calculations and directly impact the design and safety of nuclear systems. The primary goal of the research at the Gaerttner LINAC Center is to improve the quality of nuclear data by reducing uncertainties and improving accuracy. Current nuclear physics theoretical models used for nuclear data evaluations must use experimental data to achieve the accuracy required for applications. 

The experimental nuclear data research program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute utilizes a 60 MeV electron linear accelerator located at the Gaerttner LINAC Center. The accelerator can produce about 1013 neutrons per second in short pulses 5 ns to 5 µs wide at a repetition rate of 1-500 Hz. The LINAC Center uses several neutron production targets; each is optimized for a desirable energy range and operated in conjunction with several detector systems. Different measurement setups enable nuclear data measurements in a broad energy range and are used to improve nuclear data relevant to nuclear power reactors and criticality safety. The measurement capabilities include total, capture, scattering, (n,alpha), (n,p), and fission cross-sections. An overview of the capabilities, recent activity, and results will be presented. 


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Materials Science & Engineering Dept.