Alan K. Thompson joined NIST in 1991 at the start of the Polarized 3He Neutron Spin Filter Project. His research interests expanded to include neutron fundamental physics experiments (including the "emiT" experiment, the Magnetically Trapped Neutron Lifetime Experiment, and the radiative neutron decay experiment), Neutron Device Calibrations, neutron spectroscopy, and testing semiconductors for neutron-induced soft fails.
In recent years Dr. Thompson has continued to calibrate neutron detectors within NIST calibration services, but expanded his device testing to assist the Department of Homeland Security in its Neutron Detector Replacement Program.
As part of the world-wide effort to find an alternative to 3He in neutron detectors, Dr. Thompson is currently involved in the effort to develop a neutron detector based on noble gas scintillation after a thermal-neutron induced nuclear reaction; this research has resulted in two patents. He is also working on a project to develop alternative standard neutron radiation fields, based on neutron generators, for instrument calibrations.
Dr. Thompson contributes his time and energy to the broader NIST community by chairing the Ionizing Radiation Safety Committee. He became Deputy Division Chief for the Radiation Physics Division in October of 2018.
Dr. Thompson's two patents: