SU-G-IeP4-04: DD-Neutron Source Collimation for Neutron Stimulated Emission Computed Tomography: A Monte Carlo Simulation Study




To optimize collimation and shielding for a deuterium-deuterium (DD) neutron generator for an inexpensive and compact clinical neutron imaging system. The envisioned application is cancer diagnosis through Neutron Stimulated Emission Computed Tomography (NSECT).


Collimator designs were tested with an isotropic 2.5 MeV neutron source through GEANT4 simulations. The collimator is a 52×52×52 cm3 polyethylene block coupled with a 1 cm lead sheet in sequence. Composite opening was modeled into the collimator to permit passage of neutrons. The opening varied in shape (cylindrical vs. tapered), size (1–5 cm source-side and target-side openings) and aperture placements (13–39 cm from source-side). Spatial and energy distribution of neutrons and gammas were tracked from each collimator design. Parameters analyzed were primary beam width (FWHM), divergence, and efficiency (percent transmission) for different configurations of the collimator. Select resultant outputs were then used for simulated NSECT imaging of a virtual breast phantom containing a 2.5 cm diameter tumor to assess the effect of the collimator on spatial resolution, noise, and scan time. Finally, composite shielding enclosure made of polyethylene and lead was designed and evaluated to block 99.99% of neutron and gamma radiation generated in the system.


Analysis of primary beam indicated the beam-width is linear to the aperture size. Increasing source-side opening allowed at least 20% more neutron throughput for all designs relative to the cylindrical openings. Maximum throughput for all designs was 364% relative to cylindrical openings.


The work indicates potential for collimating and shielding a DD neutron generator for use in a clinical NSECT system. The proposed collimator designs produced a well-defined collimated neutron beam that can be used to image samples of interest with millimeter resolution. Balance in output efficiency, noise reduction, and scan time should be considered to determine the optimal design for specific NSECT applications.