My question is specific "what methods are there to generate free neutrons"? With a few aside queries and confirmations of undertanding
Now as I understand free protons are far easier to create than free neutrons for human use (free meaning unbounded to a nucleus of an atom). Since neutrons have no charge, it is also more difficult to control their direction, as opposed to protons and electrons that can be directed and targeted.
Protons can be created by simply stripping off the electrons from hydrogen gas. I believe this can be achieved by electromagnetic field (please feel free to expand or correct). I believe this is how CERN produces protons (please can you confirm).
Neutrons are far harder to obtain.
Possible options are:
- Fission reactions;
- Fusion reactions;
Are there any other methods in addition to the above?
Neutron Production in the universe: Now, I've heard of neutrons stars where protons and electrons combined to neutrons - this is likely to be at very high pressure since the star's gravitation field is so high.
Economical method to generate free neutrons: I was wondering what would happen if protons are accelerated in a CERN type machine and fired into a cloud of electrons. Would neutrons be produced or would hydrogen, or a percentage of both (could this be added to my list of options 1-3)? Would the energy required be large in comparison with any benefit for use in nuclear reactor or medicine applications?