In nuclear astrophysics (α,n) reactions act as neutron sources for the s-process. Key reactions such as 13C(α,n)16O and 22Ne(α,n)25Mg are amongst the first reactions to be studied in the new deep underground accelerator laboratories that will start to operate in the near future (LUNA MV, CASPAR and JUNA). To fully benefit from the underground location and achieve the required sensitivity it is crucial to understand and mitigate beam-induced backgrounds, i.e. the detection of neutrons from spurious reactions. Furthermore, the knowledge of (α,n) reaction cross sections is relevant in the research for applications of nuclear fusion and fission reactions.
A series of cross section measurements for (α,n) reactions is ongoing at the at the Nuclear Science Lab at the University of Notre Dame. In this talk I will present the experiments to measure 10B(α,n)13N and 17O(α,n)20Ne, with a focus on the employed techniques such as fast neutron detection with deuterated liquid scintillators and gamma ray detection with an array of LaBr3:Ce scintillation detectors.
University of Notre Dame
Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics