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A compact multi-plate fission chamber for the simultaneous measurement of 233U capture and fission cross-sections

Abstract: 
233U plays the essential role of fissile nucleus in the Th-U fuel cycle. A particularity of 233U is its small neutron capture cross-section which is about one order of magnitude lower than the fission cross-section on average. Therefore, the accuracy in the measurement of the 233U capture cross-section essentially relies on efficient capture-fission discrimination thus a combined setup of fission and γ-detectors is needed. At CERN n_TOF the Total Absorption Calorimeter (TAC) coupled with compact fission detectors is used. Previously used MicroMegas (MGAS) detectors showed significant γ-background issues above 100 eV coming from the copper mesh. A new measurement campaign of the 233U capture cross-section and alpha ratio is planned at the CERN n_TOF facility. For this measurement, a novel cylindrical multi ionization cell chamber was developed in order to provide a compact solution for 14 active targets read out by 8 anodes. Due to the high specific activity of 233U fast timing properties are required and achieved with the use of customized electronics and the very fast ionizing gas CF4 together with a high electric field strength. This paper describes the new fission chamber and the results of the first tests with neutrons at GELINA proving that it is suitable for the 233U measurement.