X-ray Compton Backscattering: Production and Applications

Syed  F. Naeem, K. Chouffani, and D. P. Wells
Department of Physics
Idaho State University

Tunable and quasi-monochromatic Compton backscattered x-rays or Laser Compton Scattered (LCS) x-rays are produced as a result of the interaction between an accelerated electron beam and a laser beam. LCS is the exchange of energy between relativistic electrons and laser photons. The energy tunability of the resulting LCS x-ray beam is dependent on incoming electron and laser beam energies and the crossing angle between interacting particles. Further, the yield of LCS x-rays can be optimized by varying laser power and the electron linear accelerator’s (linac) current. LCS x-rays offer much better signal-to-noise ratios, both qualitatively and quantitatively, for applications such as nuclear waste management and imaging. Sharp Compton back-scattered x-rays at designated energies were produced at the Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC) upon an approximate head-on collision between the electron beam and the Nd:YAG laser beam operating at 1064 nm, 532 nm, and 266 nm wavelengths. A graphic representation of various LCS spectra, as well as LCS applicability such as X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) and preliminary radiographic images of samples ranging from low-Z to high-Z materials will be presented.