Epithermal neutrons from pulsed-spallation sources have revolutionised neutron science allowing scientists to acquire new insight into the structure and properties of matter. Here, we demonstrate that laser driven fast (∼MeV) neutrons can be efficiently moderated to epithermal energies with intrinsically short burst durations. In a proof-of-principle experiment using a 100 TW laser, a significant epithermal neutron flux of the order of 105 n/sr/pulse in the energy range of 0.5–300 eV was measured, produced by a compact moderator deployed downstream of the laser-driven fast neutron source. The moderator used in the campaign was specifically designed, by the help of MCNPX simulations, for an efficient and directional moderation of the fast neutron spectrum produced by a laser driven source.

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