Superconducting neutron transmission imaging for investigating a sequential change in phase separations of low-melting Wood’s metal

Nov. 30 11:05-11:20

*The Dang Vu1,2, Hiroaki Shishido3, Kazuya Aizawa2, Takayuki Oku2, Kenichi Oikawa2, Masahide Harada2, Kenji M. Kojima4, Shigeyuki Miyajima5, Kazuhiko Soyama2, Tomio Koyama1, Mutsuo Hidaka6, Soh Y. Suzuki7, Manobu M. Tanaka8, Masahiko Machida9, Shuichi Kawamata1, Takekazu Ishida1
Division of Quantum and Radiation Engineering, Osaka Metropolitan University, Sakai, Osaka 599-8570, Japan1
Materials and Life Science Division, J-PARC Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Tokai, Ibaraki 319-1195, Japan2
Department of Physics and Electronics, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka Metropolitan University, Sakai, Osaka 599-8531, Japan3
Centre for Molecular and Materials Science, TRIUMF, 4004 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 2A3, Canada4
Advanced ICT Research Institute, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, 588-2 Iwaoka, Nishi-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 651-2492, Japan5
Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8568, Japan6
Computing Research Center, Applied Research Laboratory, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0801, Japan7
Institute of Particle and Nuclear Studies, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0801, Japan8
Center for Computational Science & e-Systems, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, 178-4-4 Wakashiba, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0871, Japan9

Superconducting detectors have superior advantages in achieving high sensitivity, fast response, and high energy resolution. In the past decades, they have been successfully applied to a superconducting nanowire single photon detector (SNSPD), a transition edge sensor (TES), and a microwave kinetic conductance detector (MKID). We first proposed the idea of a superconducting sensor called a current-biased kinetic inductance detector (CB-KID) [1].The CB-KID has a significant difference from others because it utilizes a voltage signal coming from a sudden change in a kinetic inductance of a hot spot in a superconducting meanderline under feeding a modest DC bias current and its low-loss propagation along a superconducting stripline. We need a netron conversion 10B layer to detect charge-neutral neutrons. A delay-line technique makes it possible to conduct the neutron transmission imaging in two dimensions only with the four-terminal CB-KID device. The detector has been systematically investigated to understand its characteristics and to optimize the operating conditions for improving the spatial resolution, the temporal resolution, and the detection efficiency [2,3]. The practical usefullness tests were done with various samples in view of good linearity between the Gd-islands sizes evaluated not only by neutron images but also by SEM images over the wide range of sample sizes [4], a demonstration of the narrow-area Bragg-edge neutron transmission [5], the Bragg-dip analyses for observing mosaic structure in a SmSn mixed metal [6], and the confirmation of spatial resolution down to 16 mm [7].

In this study, we used a delay-line-CB-KID measurement system to obtain a microstructure of Wood’s metal alloy (Bi 50%, Pb 25%, Sb 12.5%, Cd 12.5%, melting temperature 75.2°C) under beam power of 812 kW at beamline BL10 of J-PARC (MLF). The Wood’s metal is composed of four phases, of which one is a Cd-rich needle-like phase of an average width of 25 µm and length of 5 mm. Since Cd is a strong neutron absorber, it is suitable for observing the fine mosaic structure contrastingly by neutron transmission imaging. We modified our cryostat system to be able to mount a room-temperature sample for conducting the experiments under pulsed neutrons. After neutron-transmission imaging with the Wood’s metal at its initial state, we melted the Wood’s metal sample and sodified it again by slow cooling during the same beam time. We were successful in observing an impressive change in morphorogy of the phases by neturon-transmission imaging.
Since CB-KID is a cryogenic detector, the sample to be investigated has been located near the CB-KID sensor at an operating temeperature. Neutron imaging by CB-KID with cryogenic-temperature samples is not so convenient for users to exchange a sample and to conduct the open beam normalization of imaging in a limited beam time. Room-temperature sample imaging achieved in the present study would be very useful to apply our CB-KID system to versatile different samples of interest in the future.

This work is partially supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) (No. JP21H04666) and Grant-in-Aid for Early-Career Scientists (No. JP21K14566) from JSPS. The neutron irradiation experiments at the Materials and Life Science Experimental Facility (MLF) of the J- PARC were conducted under the support of MLF project program (No. 2021P0501).

[1] Ishida T, et al., 2014 Toward mega-pixel neutron imager using current-biased kinetic inductance detectors of Nb nanowires with 10B converter J. Low Temp. Phys. 176 216–221
[2] Vu T D, et al. 2019 Temperature dependent characteristics of neutron signals from a current-biased Nb nanowire detector with 10B converter J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 1293 012051
[3] Vu T D, et al. 2020 Kinetic inductance neutron detector operated at near critical temperature J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 1590 012036
[4] Vu T D, et al. 2021 Practical tests of neutron transmission imaging with a superconducting kinetic-inductance sensor Nucl. Instrum. Meth. Phys. Res. A 1006 165411
[5] Vu T D, et al. 2022 Narrow-area Bragg-edge transmission of iron samples using superconducting neutron sensor J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 2323 012028
[6] Shishido H, et al. 2022 Neutron Imaging toward Epithermal Regime using a Delay Line Current-Biased Kinetic-Inductance Detector J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 2323 012029
[7] Iizawa Y, et al. 2019 Energy-resolved neutronvimaging with high-spatial resolution using a superconducting delay-line kinetic inductance detector Supercond. Sci. Technol. 32 125009

Keywords: Superconducting neutron detector, CB-KID, Neutron, Wood's metal