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 Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer
20.10.2017 | Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

nachricht Metallic nanoparticles will help to determine the percentage of volatile compounds
20.10.2017 | Lomonosov Moscow State University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>