A novel method and compact neutron source for generating thermal neutrons is described that uses an ion source to emit ions toward a target where neutrons are generated. Surrounding the target is a secondary electron shield, and surrounding the target is a first stage moderator to reduce the energy of generated fast neutrons. Enclosing the first stage moderator is a second stage moderator with a thermal neutron port.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH 11231 awarded by the United States Department of Energy to The Regents of the University of California for management and operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The government has certain rights in this invention.