Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version



Published in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 366 (2016), pp. 217–223. doi 10.1016/j.nimb.2015.11.007


Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Used by permission.


We report the results of experimental and numerical-simulation studies of shielded radiography using narrowband MeVenergy X-rays from a compact all-laser-driven inverse-Compton-scattering X-ray light source. This recently developed Xray light source is based on a laser-wakefield accelerator with ultra-high-field gradient (GeV/cm). We demonstrate experimentally high-quality radiographic imaging (image contrast of 0.4 and signal-to-noise ratio of 2:1) of a target composed of 8-mm thick depleted uranium shielded by 80-mm thick steel, using a 6-MeV X-ray beam with a spread of 45% (FWHM) and 107 photons in a single shot. The corresponding dose of the X-ray pulse measured in front of the target is ~100 nGy/ pulse. Simulations performed using the Monte-Carlo code MCNPX accurately reproduce the experimental results. These simulations also demonstrate that the narrow bandwidth of the Compton X-ray source operating at 6 and 9 MeV leads to a reduction of deposited dose as compared to broadband bremsstrahlung sources with the same end-point energy. The Xray beam’s inherently low-divergence angle (~mrad) is advantageous and effective for interrogation at standoff distance. These results demonstrate significant benefits of all-laser driven Compton X-rays for shielded radiography.