Alternative to MCNP for modeling alpha particles?

  • #1
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I am a masters student in the UK. For my project I have to monitor the efficiency of zinc sulphide detectors for monitoring alpha particles in liquid solutions. I need to model things like the proximity of the detector to the liquid, the size of the detector and the thickness of the light-tight foil. The models should be fairly basic as the thesis isn't very long (10,000 words).

My university provided me with MCNP 4C, but it cannot model alpha particles. I have applied for a licence for version 6.2 but it may take months, so I am looking for alternatives.

I have been told about Geant4 and SRIM/TRIM. I would like to know how difficult it is to learn either of these programmes? I am a novice programmer, but know some basics of MCNP.

As Geant4 is written in C++, will it be too difficult for me to get up and running in a few weeks?
Does SRIM/TRIM have the capabilities for what I need to do?

Thank you in advance
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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I am a masters student in the UK. For my project I have to monitor the efficiency of zinc sulphide detectors for monitoring alpha particles in liquid solutions. I need to model things like the proximity of the detector to the liquid, the size of the detector and the thickness of the light-tight foil. The models should be fairly basic as the thesis isn't very long (10,000 words).

My university provided me with MCNP 4C, but it cannot model alpha particles. I have applied for a licence for version 6.2 but it may take months, so I am looking for alternatives.

I have been told about Geant4 and SRIM/TRIM. I would like to know how difficult it is to learn either of these programmes? I am a novice programmer, but know some basics of MCNP.

As Geant4 is written in C++, will it be too difficult for me to get up and running in a few weeks?
Does SRIM/TRIM have the capabilities for what I need to do?

Thank you in advance
This might help answer one's questions.

AlfaMC: a fast alpha particle transport Monte Carlo code
Luis Peralta, Alina Louro
https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1211/1211.5960.pdf
General purpose Monte Carlo programs as MCNPX, GEANT3, GEANT4 or FLUKA (Agostinelli, 2003; Allison, 2006; GEANT, 1993; MCNPX, 2012; FLUKA, 2012) can simulate the transport and energy loss of alpha particles in matter. They can simulate complex geometries, but their speed is in general low. The state-of-the-art SRIM program (SRIM, 2008; Ziegler, 1985) on the other hand is relatively fast but allows only simple slab geometry. To overcome some of these problems several application specific codes have been developed. Unfortunately, for most of them there is a limited access to the code or even to documentation describing the underlying models.
These days, an aspiring engineer who will do programming (e.g., development of modeling and simulation tools) should probably learn Fortran and C++, and a scripting language like Python. These I hear most often in discussions involving engineering calculations and data processing.
 
  • #3
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For Geant4, I'd suggest trying some of the tutorials located here:

http://www-public.slac.stanford.edu/geant4/PastEvents.asp

and see how it goes. A few weeks sounds optimistic, but I would also look over the examples packaged with Geant4 and see if there is one that is close to your task. Then you can just modify it to what you need.

I'd second Astronuc's suggestion with regards to Fortran, C++, and Python. I've used pretty much only those three languages throughout my work in nuclear science and engineering.
 

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