A CVD diamond detector for (n,alpha) cross section measurements
In astrophysics, the determination of the optical alpha-nucleus potential for low alpha-particle energies, crucial in understanding the origin of the stable isotopes, has turned out to be a challenge. Theory still cannot predict the optical potentials required for the calculation of the astrophysical reaction rates in the Hauser-Feshbach statistical model and there is scant experimental information on reactions with alpha particles at the relevant astrophysical energies. Measurements of (n,alpha) cross-sections offer a good opportunity to study the alpha channel. At the n_TOF experiment at CERN, a prototype detector, based on the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamond technology, has been recently developed for (n,alpha) measurements. A reference measurement of the 10B(n,alpha)7Li reaction was performed in 2011 at n_TOF as a feasibility study for this detector type. The results of this measurement and an outline for future experiments are presented here.