Precise knowledge of the fast neutron spectrum and fluencies is essential for several experimental endeavors requiring the low-background of the underground ground environment.
These experiments include some of the most important directions in nuclear and particle physics that are under consideration for the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) , such as searches for WIMP dark matter, neutrinoless double beta decay, and solar neutrinos. In recent years, the need for sensitive measurements of fast neutron influences has outpaced the ability to perform such measurements. The current state of fast neutron measurement capability is inadequate to meet the needs of these experiments, and the development of this new technology would greatly advance the ability to characterize the fast neutron backgrounds.
(Photograph: Final assembly of the 16-channel neutron spectrometer. The detector was recently assembled and tested in the CNIF.)