Research with neutrons offers unique insights into the internal structure of matter, making it a key technology for many areas of science. These complex studies are often undertaken at research reactors, many of which will reach the end of their operational life in the coming years.
Forschungszentrum Jülich has begun to develop a concept for cost-efficient neutron sources which could replace mid-sized facilities. The new sources will operate without using reactor-typical chain reactions. Even smaller facilities on a laboratory scale can be set up using the same principle.
The Jülich project team aims to implement an extremely compact neutron source using accelerators with relatively low final energy through the newest technological developments.
Scientists presented the concept and the results of the first component tests in the January edition of the international journal European Physics Journal Plus (DOI: 10.1140/epjp/i2016-16019-5) and at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) on 17 February.
“High-performance microscopic analysis methods are an important requirement for the development of new materials and material systems. Due to their unique properties, neutrons are indispensable for scientists from many disciplines, from physics to chemistry, biology and geology, right through to material and engineering sciences,” emphasized Prof. Sebastian M. Schmidt, member of the Jülich Board of Directors, at the ceremony in Jülich.
The uncharged components of atomic nuclei reveal, among other things, where atoms are located, how they move and what their magnetic properties are. In contrast to techniques such as electron microscopy or X-ray diffraction, neutrons also provide information about light elements and can also be used on sensitive samples.
These scientifically and technically demanding analyses take place at large and medium-sized specialized research facilities, so called “neutron sources”, often at research reactors. However, several of these are due to be taken out of service over the next five years.
The Jülich concept is based on the use of the newest technological developments, enabling an accelerator-based production of tightly bundled neutrons. Unlike the situation at reactors, chain reactions do not take place – instead, neutrons are released by colliding accelerated deuterium atoms with metal foil.
The new neutron sources allow neutrons to be used especially efficiently for selected purposes. “For specific scientific questions, it will be possible to achieve results that are not inferior to those obtained at current leading sources, and at around just 30% of the cost,” explained Prof. Thomas Brückel, Director at the JCNS. The bundled neutrons are especially suitable for use in studying small samples such as protein crystals that are often smaller than a cubic millimeter. In this way, for example, the position of lighter elements can be determined, which is often of crucial importance in terms of biological functions.
To begin with, the project’s feasibility will be demonstrated using a prototype. Jülich scientists have already optimized the first components of the HBS using computer simulations and tests on prototypes. The Helmholtz Association has included the project in its “Roadmap for Research Infrastructures 2015” due to its importance for Germany as a centre for research.
“In terms of research with neutrons, Europe leads the way world-wide, thanks to its network of neutron sources. Even the future European Spallation Source (ESS) currently being developed in Lund, Sweden, as the most powerful accelerator-based neutron source in the world cannot fill the gaps created by the decommissioning of the research reactors,” explained Brückel. “In order to carry out certain types of scientific experiments, acquire users, train junior researchers and develop new methods, we still need a European network of neutron sources.”
The Jülich Centre for Neutron Science
Since its establishment in 2006, the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science has been successful in its strategy, unique in neutron research, of offering its users outstanding instruments at leading international neutron sources, and combining this with an excellent scientific environment for selected research areas. JCNS is involved in operating five instruments at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France, the most powerful neutron source in the world. Under the umbrella of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum, at the most powerful German research neutron source in Garching near Munich, JCNS is currently operating eleven neutron instruments, together with partner institutions; two further instruments are under construction. At the Spallation Neutron Source in Oak Ridge, USA, a Jülich neutron spectrometer is the only non-American measuring instrument enabling German and European researchers to gain valuable experience for the construction and operation of instruments for the ESS. Forschungszentrum Jülich has sold three instruments to the China Advanced Research Reactor near Beijing; German researchers are also free to use the instruments there.
The Jülich project team aims to implement an extremely compact neutron source using accelerators with relatively low final energy through the newest technological developments relating to target, moderators, beam extraction, beam guidance and neutron optics. Optimized for specific types of studies, for instance on small samples, it is set to ideally complement the larger, international facilities.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich
Prof. Thomas Brückel (left), Director at the JCNS, presented the concept of the high-brilliance neutron source at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the institute. Other speakers were (from left to right): Prof. Dr. Ghaleb Natour, Director at the ZEA, Prof. Dr. Helmut Schober, ILL, Prof. Dr. Dieter Richter, JCNS, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Schmidt, Member of the Jülich Board of Directors, and Prof. Dr. Richard Wagner, former Member of the Jülich Board of Directors.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich
The Jülich high-brilliance neutron source project;
U. Rücker, T. Cronert, J. Voigt, J.P. Dabruck, P.-E. Doege, J. Ulrich, R. Nabbi, Y. Bessler, M. Butzek, M. Büscher, C. Lange, M. Klaus, T. Gutberlet and T. Brückel;
Eur. Phys. J. Plus (2016) 131: 19;
Prof. Thomas Brückel, Director at the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science und Peter Grünberg Institute – Division “Scattering Methods” (JCNS-2/PGI-4), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Tel. +49 24 61 61-4750, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Wenzik, Science Journalist, Forschungszentrum Jülich,
Tel. +49 24 61 61-6048, Email: email@example.com
http://www.fz-juelich.de/portal/EN/ - Forschungszentrum Jülich
http://www.fz-juelich.de/jcns/EN/ - Jülich Centre for Neutron Science
http://www.fz-juelich.de/jcns/EN/Leistungen/High-Brilliance-Neutron-Source/_node... - “The High-Brilliance Neutron Source Project”
http://www.fz-juelich.de/ics/ics-1/EN/UeberUns/JCNSHistory/_node.html - A brief history of JCNS
Dipl.-Biologin Annette Stettien | Forschungszentrum Jülich
Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics
What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences