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# Polar angular distributions and mean polar angle of

Jeremy Cook

## 1 Distribution of azimuthal angle, P()

The polar angle at the guide exit is

2 2
(1).

x2 z2 (2).

## The mean polar angle characterizes the beam divergence.

In the small angle approximation (Eq. (2)), we can readily calculate the probability density distribution of
the polar angle produced by an ideal guide. This situation is illustrated in Figure 1 for a general case
where x z. Equation (2) represents an arc of a circle of radius with origin (x, z) = (0, 0), confined to
the box whose upper limits are the critical angles x = cx and z = cz. If the x and z distributions are
assumed to be uniform, the probability density for a polar angle is just proportional to the length of the
arc segment of radius . We define the following angles:

1 min cx , cz
2 max cx , cz (3).

max
c
x 2
c
y 2

Then we have

P for 1 (4),
2 cxcz

P cos1 1 x z for 1 2 (5),
2 c c

1
and

x z
P cos1 c cos1 c x z for 2 max (6).
2 c c

where the denominator cx cz is the area of the rectangle which normalizes P() to unit area for uniform
P(x) and P(z).

The probability density distribution, P(), for the case illustrated on the left of Figure 1 is shown on the
right of the figure. It is immediately obvious that P() is far from uniform.

Figure 1. Calculation of the probability density for a polar angle from an ideal guide characterized by uniform
horizontal and vertical divergence angles in the range 0 cx and 0 cz respectively.

## The mean polar angle of this distribution is given by

P d
P d
which finally simplifies to

1 1 3 2 max 1 1 2 1 1

1 2 max 1 ln max
2
3
ln
max
3
cos cos
31 2 4 max 2 max 1 2 max max
(7).

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For the simpler case of equal horizontal and vertical divergence cx = cz = c the above equations for P()
reduce to

P for c (8)
2 c2

and

P 2cos 1 c 2 for c 2c (9).
2 c

## The resulting function P() is illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Probability density for a polar angle from an ideal neutron guide characterized by equal uniform horizontal
and vertical divergence angles in the range 0 c.

## Note also that Eq. (7) greatly simplifies to

3
2 1 3 2 2
1 ln c 0.765c (10).
3 32 3 2 2

## 2 Distribution of cosine of azimuthal angle, P()= P(cos())

For a surface source, MCNP selects according to the distribution of = cos, where

P d P d (11)

therefore, we have

P P
P (12),
sin

where the approximation represents the small angle approximation appropriate to neutron guides.

P for 1 (13),
2cxcz

## from Eq. (5)

1 1
P cos 1 for 2 1 (14),
2 2 1 cxcz

## and from Eq. (6)

cx cz 1
P cos 1
cos 1
for max 2 (15).
2 2 1 2 1 cxcz

The corresponding distribution for the distribution shown in Figure 1 is shown in Figure 3 (note that
for cos(1), the distribution is approximately uniform).

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Figure 3. The probability density distribution of = cos(), corresponding to the distribution of polar angles, , shown in
Figure 1.

1
P for cos c (16)
2 c2

## and from Eq. (9)

c 1
P 2cos 1
for cos 2c cos c (17).
2 2 1 c2

The corresponding distribution for the distribution shown in Figure 2 is shown in Figure 4 (note that
for cos(c), the distribution is approximately uniform).

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Figure 4. The probability density distribution of = cos(), corresponding to the distribution of polar angles, , shown in
Figure 2.