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 Neutron Interactions and Applications  posted by  member150_php   on 2/26/2009  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Yip, Sidney, 22.106 Neutron Interactions and Applications, Spring 2005. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare),  (Accessed 07 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Neutron Interactions and Applications

Spring 2005

Diagram of new compact neutron generator.

Instead of projecting ions against a single screen, this version of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's compact neutron generator produces many more neutrons by wrapping the target around the ion source. Such neutron generators are small enough to descend into a borehole, provide neutrons for brain-cancer therapy, and peer inside airport luggage. (Illustration courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.)

Course Highlights

This course features problem sets, a sample project, and a complete set of full-text lecture notes.

Previous versions of this course are also available: Spring 2004, Spring 2002.

Course Description

This course is a foundational study of the effects of single and multiple interactions on neutron distributions and their applications to problems across the Nuclear Engineering department - fission, fusion, and RST. Particle simulation methods are introduced to deal with complex processes that cannot be studied only experimentally or by numerical solutions of equations. Treatment will emphasize basic concepts and understanding, as well as showing the underlying scientific connections with current research areas.



This subject deals with neutron interactions, particularly elastic and inelastic (in the molecular sense) scattering, and the various applications made possible by these processes, from fission reactor criticality to radiation damage, microdosimetry, imaging, and fundamental research. A particular distinction in the treatment is made between effects of single collisions and the distributions resulting from multiple collisions. Another feature of the subject is the introduction of particle simulation techniques, both Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics, as practical approaches to determining the various distributions. The intent is to provide the student with a unified framework for the quantitative understanding of the complex behavior of nuclear systems.

The course is motivated by the combination of two themes, the study of particle distributions as a consequence of many nuclear interactions, and the widespread use of simulation to determine particle distribution in complex Nuclear Engineering problems. Within ten years the way we think of neutrons will change due to a roughly 8 orders of magnitude increase in computational power, brought on by faster chip speeds, automated variance reduction and parallel processing (Beowulf clusters). To be ready, today's students must master, in the broadest sense, the fundamentals of theory and computation. 22.106 will get you started on that path.


Subject will be taught on the basis of class lectures with supplemental materials distributed or assigned in class. There will be several problem sets, a term project, a written quiz, and an oral exam at the end of the term.


Applied Nuclear Physics (22.101)

activities percentages
Problem Sets 30%
Term Project 20%
Quiz 30%
Oral Exam 20%


Lec # topics key dates
1 Overview: Neutron Interactions and Cross Sections  
2-4 Neutron Elastic Scattering: Thermal Motion and Chemical Binding Effects Problem set 1 due in lecture 4
5 Particle Simulations I: Monte Carlo Basics  
6-7 Further Discussions: Monte Carlo in Statistical Physics and Radiation Transport Problem set 2 due in lecture 7
8 The Neutron Transport Equation: A Balance of Distributions  
9 Neutron Slowing Down Problem set 3 due
10 Neutron Diffusion  
11 Criticality of Multiplying Systems  
12 Particle Simulation Methods II: Basic Molecular Dynamics Problem set 4 due seven days after lecture 12

Problem set 5 due fourteen days after lecture 12
13 An Application of Molecular Dynamics: Direct Simulation of Melting  
14 Multiscale Materials Modeling Problem set 6 due
15 Thermal Neutron Scattering Basics  
16 Dynamic Structure Factor in Neutron Inelastic Scattering Problem set 7 due five days after lecture 16

Quiz due 7 days after lecture 16   Tell A Friend