At Frontier Technology Corporation (FTC), we are dedicated to providing safe and reliable californium-252 (Cf-252) neutron sources to customers around the world. For this reason, all of our neutron sources are NIST traceable. The following article discusses what NIST standards are and why they are important when searching for a neutron source supplier.

What Is NIST?

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that establishes and maintains measurement and calibration standards for industrial equipment and systems. Its primary purpose is developing and encouraging the use of measurement standards and technologies to improve product and process quality across a variety of industries.

Products that are considered NIST traceable are characterized by the following: 

  • They are measured and calibrated by a certified manufacturer or laboratory. 
  • They meet and can be traced back through an unbroken chain of measurement to NIST-maintained standards.
  • They come with comprehensive documentation about their calibration processes and procedures that clearly states any calibration uncertainties, all of which should be public and non-proprietary. 

Why Is NIST Certification Important for Neutron Sources?

As indicated above, NIST standards focus on ensuring products meet established standards. Consistency is especially important for products that can have severe consequences when made or manufactured improperly. For example, Cf-252 neutron sources can spontaneously emit up to 170 million neutrons per minute. As such, it is essential to ensure their containment vessels are designed and manufactured correctly to avoid accidental or excessive neutron exposure. 

By partnering with a neutron supplier who upholds NIST standards, customers benefit in several ways, including with regard to the following: 

  • Accuracy. NIST-compliant products give end-users the piece of mind that the unit is calibrated correctly. As a result, NIST-compliant neutron sources are more likely to provide predictable and repeatable results in applications such as prompt gamma neutron activation analysis (PGNAA). 
  • Productivity. NIST-compliant neutron sources are calibrated based on NIST standards, so end-users are less likely to encounter equipment errors due to poor measurements that can halt or hinder operations. In addition, they can rely on the measurements provided by their supplier, which reduces the amount of time they will need to spend verifying and calibrating the source in-house. 
  • Safety. Having accurate measurements of a neutron source’s output is critical to establishing the proper containment structures and protocols. With NIST-compliant sources, users can be assured they have sufficient safety measures in place for the protection of their employees. 
  • Liability. By making it easier to implement the proper safety measures within a facility, NIST-compliant neutron sources help reduce the potential for accidents among staff and injuries on the job, thereby reducing a facility’s overall liability. 

NIST Traceable Neutron Sources at Frontier Technology Corporation

At Frontier Technology Corporation, we have served as one of the world’s leading suppliers of californium-252 neutron sources for over 30 years. Our commitment to providing the highest quality products is why we ensure each of our Cf-252 sources are NIST traceable. 

We maintain detailed and up-to-date certification records, all of which we are happy to provide to customers upon request. Our neutron source calibration operations are based on data directly from the NIST neutron source calibration facility, which offers calibration services for neutron sources with emission rates from 5 x 105 to 1010 s-1.

To learn more about NIST standards or our californium-252 neutron sources, reach out to us today.