Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First neutrons produced by DOE’s Spallation Neutron Source

03.05.2006


One of the largest and most anticipated U.S. science construction projects of the past several decades has passed its most significant performance test. The Department of Energy’s Spallation Neutron Source, located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has generated its first neutrons.



Research conducted at the SNS will lay the groundwork for the next generation of materials research. Scientists believe that the greatly improved ability to understand the structure of materials could lead to a virtually limitless number of innovations, including stronger and lighter airplanes, a new generation of batteries and fuel cells, and time-released drugs that target a specific body organ.

Just after 2 p.m. Friday, a pulse of protons from the SNS’s accelerator complex, traveling at nearly the speed of light, struck its mercury target. The protons "spalled" neutrons from the nuclei of mercury circulating inside the target. These first neutrons were recorded on equipment specially installed for the commissioning.


"To have observed ’first neutrons’ on the initial SNS run is a tribute to the men and women who have worked so hard to design, construct, and now operate this magnificent facility," said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of the DOE Office of Science. "To bring a project of this scale and cost to completion on budget and ahead of schedule represents a model for all future large scale scientific projects to emulate. All of us owe all who have contributed to this achievement sincere thanks and appreciation for the opportunities you have now created for our world. It is a great moment for science."

With the linac operating initially at a much lower power than its eventual 1.4 megawatts, the target nevertheless was struck by trillions of protons, generating the first of what will become the world’s most intense beams of neutrons for materials research.

"These first neutrons are representative of the technological breakthroughs required to establish the SNS as the world’s leading facility for neutron research," said SNS Director Thom Mason. "We took on the challenges and technical risks involved in designing and delivering the linac, ring and target because we knew how much the scientific user community would benefit from the results."

The SNS’s mercury target is the first of its kind. Researchers chose mercury for the target medium because, as a relatively heavy element, it is rich in neutrons. Mercury also has the capacity to absorb the powerful pulses from the linear accelerator (linac) and accumulator ring. Conventional target materials such as tungsten require cooling with water, which limits power and intensity.

The $1.4 billion SNS will have about eight times the beam power of the world’s currently leading pulsed spallation source. This increase in power, when combined with the advanced instrument technology developed at SNS, will give researchers a net improvement in measured neutron beam intensity of factors of 50 to 100.

The SNS has been commissioned in stages, beginning with the 1,000-foot linac’s front end and continuing through its "warm" and "cold" linac sections to the accumulator ring and, now, the target station, which will direct neutrons eventually to 24 highly specialized instruments. A power upgrade and second target station are already in the conceptual stages.

Operating with more than 100,000 separate and interdependent parts, the SNS is the product of an unprecedented collaboration among six DOE laboratories. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was responsible for the front-end system that generates the proton beam, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility designed and built the room-temperature and superconducting sections of the linac, Brookhaven National Laboratory designed the accumulator ring, Argonne National Laboratory is responsible for the initial suite of scientific instrumentation and ORNL designed and built the target station and is ultimately responsible for operating the SNS.

DOE’s Office of Science coordinated the partnership, which is on track to complete the SNS on time and on budget with no compromise in the project’s scope. The seven-year construction of the SNS included a safety record of four million hours without a lost work day due to accidents.

The SNS’s specialized, state-of-the-art instruments will make possible the study of a broad range of materials from superconducting metals to biological tissues. The SNS and ORNL’s recently upgraded High Flux Isotope Reactor together will make Oak Ridge the world’s leading center for studying the structure and dynamics of materials.

The SNS will operate as a user facility that each year will enable 2,000 researchers from the United States and abroad to study the science of materials that form the basis for new technologies in energy, telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation, information technology, biotechnology and health.

Bill Cabage | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sns.gov

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Siberian scientists suggested a new method for synthesizing a promising magnetic material
23.01.2018 | Siberian Federal University

nachricht Complex tessellations, extraordinary materials
23.01.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>