Member Labs

Portable Low-Energy Neutron Source



Laboratory: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Overview: Typically, sources of low-energy neutrons are large and immobile, often filling entire rooms. A portable source of low-energy neutrons would allow for accurate and safe detection of nuclear materials in the field.

Technology: The technology involves a portable source of low-energy neutrons that can be easily transported to field sites, then quickly set up and operated to detect the presence of fissionable materials. The source makes use of low-voltage, pulsed-RF acceleration to obtain energetic particles useful in nuclear reactions that produce low-energy neutrons. Small amounts of uranium respond strongly to low-energy neutrons. Low energy consumption and small size (approximately the size of a standard refrigerator) make the unit portable. Standard electronics support the detection system.


  • Field operable due to portability
  • More effective detection
  • System components include simple threshold detectors
  • Safer due to lower radiation dose
  • Electrically generated, enabling source to be turned off

Potential Applications: Homeland security, medical, neutron radiography

Opportunity: Available for license

Contact: Catherine Elizondo

View the full listing via LLNL’s Industrial Partnerships Office.

Member Labs