The material is exposed to the neutron flux of the nuclear reactor. These neutrons result from the fission of the heavy U-235 nuclei which make-up the reactor fuel.

2. Neutron irradiation:

Other neutrons collide or interact with nuclei of elements present in the sample (through a process called neutron capture), forming compound nuclei in an excited state. The capture of a thermal neutron by an aluminum nucleus is expressed by the following equation:

On average, 2.5 extra neutrons are generated with every fission. One neutron is needed to perpetuate the fission chain reaction.

Fission

Oregon State University Archaeometry Lab