Californium-252 (Cf-252) is a type of synthetically-manufactured radioactive isotope that releases high levels of neutrons. These levels of radioactivity require careful handling of Cf-252 using specialized containers. At Frontier Technology Corporation, we offer safely-contained Cf-252 neutron sources that meet our customers’ individual needs.

Since our establishment in 1984, Frontier Technology Corporation has provided californium-252 neutron sources for clients across a wide range of industries. We specialize in the design and manufacturing of neutron sources in the coal, cement, and mineral industries. In addition, we provide testing, product research, and monitoring services. 

Choosing Frontier Technology Corporation for Coal, Cement, and Mineral Neutron Sources

Frontier Technology Corporation supplies and manufactures custom californium-252 neutron sources that can meet the needs of many applications in these industries. Our double-encapsulated sources consist of a series of inner and outer capsule chambers. These containers also include a wire form of the Cf-252 isotope of up to 5 mg. 

The materials we use to construct our capsules include platinum, Zircaloy-2, and 304L stainless steel, along with other alloys. We use our advanced manufacturing processes to manufacture each capsule, including circumferential seal welding and TIG welding processes. We customize all Cf-252 sources based on our customers’ unique specifications.

Cf-252 offers a variety of benefits that make it useful for those in the coal, cement, and mineral industries.

Uses of Californium in Coal, Cement, and Minerals

These industries use Cf-252 for many applications because of its portability and high levels of neutron emissions. Some of these potential uses include:



The coal industry frequently uses the neutron emissions of Cf-252 to identify the composition of the coal.


As with the coal industry, the cement industry uses Cf-252 to analyze the composition of the cement.


Cement plants often require online elemental analyzers to assist with kiln feed and raw material quality control while reducing these materials’ variability. In the process, those analyzers use either Pulsed Fast Thermal Neutron Analysis (PFTNA) or Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA), both techniques require neutron activation of the analyzed materials.



The mineral industry uses Cf-252 to measure the mineral content level in coal ash, along with the moisture of materials contained within silos. Applications in this industry also use this neutron source for identifying silver or gold ores via neutron activation analysis.

Advantages of Californium-252 and PGNAA in the Coal, Mineral, and Cement Industries

The PGNAA process often uses bulk material analyzers to process material samples. This equipment uses a combination of conveyor or carrying belts, neutron sources, neutron detectors, and electronic controls to complete the material analysis. Specifically, the analysis process entails capturing neutrons while emitting gamma rays, which analyzers then measure to identify neutron-capturing materials. Concentrations become apparent based on the peak intensities at these energies.

One of the best neutron sources to use in these analyzers is Cf-252, as it is one of the most reliable and affordable neutron sources for PGNAA in the coal, cement, and mineral industries. Its reliability also makes it ideal for detecting and identifying explosives, land mines, and other types of unexploded military ordnance. 

Custom Californium-252 Neutron Sources from Frontier Technology Corporation

Based on the needs of our customers in the coal, mineral, and cement industries, we can develop the ideal solution to meet these requirements. We offer 32 versions of Cf-252 sources of standard length, which are available in multiple combinations of outer and inner capsule materials. To maintain safe transportation and implementation of these neutron sources, we transport these products in Type A radioactive shipping containers. Once you have used the material, ship it to us for fee-free disposal after covering the costs of shipping and handling.

Find out more about our Cf-252 sources in our free eBook, A Complete Guide to Californium-252 Solutions at FTC. If you have any questions, contact us and we’ll put you in touch with a representative. To get started on a custom solution for your application, request a quote today.