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Studies Relative to Possible Laser Pumped by Nuclear Beta Rays. II. Power and Shielding Requirements,
HARRY DIAMOND LABS WASHINGTON D C
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An investigation has been made of problems that would be encountered in providing for and using the nuclear power from the beta decay of Tm170 to pump a rare-earth ion laser. The Tm170 is to be created by bombarding LiTmF4 containing stable Tm169 by thermal neutrons. The rare earth impurity ion selected for the laser will substitute for a small amount of the thulium. It was found that exposing the LiTmF4 crystal to a thermal neutron flux of 10 to the 14th powersq cm-sec for 3 days could create a power density within LiTmF4 comparable with that of a 100-W xenon lamp used for optically pumping Ho3. The energy level of escaping radiation is low enough so that shielding to insure safe handling without compromising portability can be provided with no great difficulty. Range calculations showed, for example, that the range of 1-MeV electrons in liquid nitrogen is only about 0.5 cm. Low-Z material can be used for shielding the beta rays because of the lower intensity bremsstrahlung that would be created thereby. Modified author abstract
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