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IFCA installs a neutron flow measurement system on its roof

August 4, 2020

This is the most favorable time, from the point of view of solar activity, to measure the neutron spectrum. 

The project, called HENSA (High Efficiency Neutron Spectrometry Array), will be installed on the roof of the IFCA from Tuesday 4 to Friday 7 August. The objective is to achieve the characterization of the neutron background produced by cosmic rays, during the minimum activity of sun (11 years).

This year this minimum (cycle 25) takes place between the months of February and November, approximately, so it is the optimal time to map the neutron spectrum at different locations and altitudes along the Spanish territory. In addition, a virtual seminar is planned with the project coordinator, Ariel Tarifeño-Saldivia, to know first-hand the ins and outs of the research and to go deeper into HENSA. 

The team is composed of researchers from the Instituto de Técnicas Energéticas de la Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña (INTE-UPC, Barcelona), el Instituto de Física Corpuscular (IFIC/CSIC-UV, Valencia), la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HDZR, Germany). Also contributing to the HENSA project are the Canfranc Underground Laboratory (LSC) and researchers from the Canadian Particle Accelerator Center (TRIUMF, Canada) and the Heavy Ion Research Center (GSI, Germany).


HENSA is a high efficiency neutron spectrometer designed for characterization of the environmental neutron background in low radioactivity facilities (subway research laboratories) and at the earth's surface. 

This characterization at this level is of interest in different areas such as the control of the radioactivity that exists in the environment, detecting failures in microchip technology, the study of cosmic ray physics and knowing more about the climate of space. 



HENSA detector during measurement campaign on the terrace of the Canfranc Underground Laboratory headquarters building (1100 m. above sea level).


HENSA detector during measurement campaign in Astún ski resort (2140 m. above sea level).

  • Joint Centre with the combined effort of Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and University of Cantabria (UC)

    Instituto de Física de Cantabria
    Edificio Juan Jordá
    Avenida de los Castros, s/n
    E-39005 Santander
    Cantabria, Spain

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