Answer to Question #3504 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
Category: Radiation Basics — Neutrons
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
I am using an AmBe source to calibrate a BF3 tube for use with a neutron generator. The source has a calibration certificate dated June 1997, at 370 MBq and 100 mCi. I would like to know what the effective half-life of the AmBe source is and how many neutrons I can expect per Ci.
Technical information about some of the more widely used neutron generators can be found in IAEA Technical Report Series No. 252 (Gibson 1985). The answer to your question is in Table 3.1 (page 22) of this publication. The half-life of a 241AmBe neutron generator is 432 y. The specific source strength (total neutron emission rate per unit activity) is 6.6×10-5 s-1 Bq-1.The alpha decay of 241Am produces 237Np, also an alpha emitter, with a half-life of 2.14×106 y. The contribution of 237Np will not appreciably affect the neutron production rate because of this long half-life and the correspondingly low specific activity.
James S. Bogard, PhD, CHP
Answer posted on 25 March 2004. The information and material posted on this website is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may alter the concepts and applications of materials and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice specific to whatever facts and circumstances are presented in any given situation. Answers are correct at the time they are posted on the Website. Be advised that over time, some requirements could change, new data could be made available, or Internet links could change. For answers that have been posted for several months or longer, please check the current status of the posted information prior to using the responses for specific applications.
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