Search for Neutrons Associated with Lightning Discharges

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
J Eric Grove1, W Neil Johnson1, Bernard F Phlips1, Eric A Wulf1, Anthony L. Hutcheson1, Lee J. Mitchell1, Richard S. Woolf1, Meagan Schaal1, Martin A Uman2, Douglas M Jordan2 and Joseph R Dwyer3,4, (1)Naval Research Lab DC, Washington, DC, United States, (2)Univ Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States, (3)University of New Hampshire Main Campus, Department of Physics, Durham, NH, United States, (4)University of New Hampshire Main Campus, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, Durham, NH, United States
We report on a search for neutrons produced by natural and triggered lightning discharges in Summer 2013 and Summer 2014 at the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing, Camp Blanding, Florida. Neutrons may be expected, e.g., from photonuclear interactions of gamma rays above 2.2 MeV with natural deuterium in humid air or, for higher energy gamma rays, with isotopes of N and O. The instrument includes large arrays of thermal neutron and fast neutron detectors. Gamma ray detectors co-located with the neutron-sensitive arrays measure energetic emission associated with lightning events. The array of electric field, magnetic field, and optical sensors that comprise the ICLRT measurement network provide lightning discharge diagnostics for context.

This work was sponsored by DARPA and the Office of Naval Research.