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Los Alamos To Build Most Intense Pulsed Neutron Beam In The World

Date:
November 1, 1998
Source:
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Summary:
Los Alamos National Laboratory will build a half-mile-long linear accelerator for the Spallation Neutron Source, a $1.3 billion facility that will produce the most intense pulsed neutron beam in the world.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. -- Los Alamos National Laboratory will build ahalf-mile-long linear accelerator for the Spallation NeutronSource, a $1.3 billion facility that will produce the mostintense pulsed neutron beam in the world.

The facility, which will be located at Oak Ridge NationalLaboratory in Tennessee, is a collaborative project involvingfive Department of Energy national laboratories. Whenoperational, it will be used for a wide range of materialsresearch and neutron scattering experiments.

Roger Pynn, director of the Los Alamos Neutron Scattering Center(LANSCE), said the Laboratory would also build control anddiagnostic systems to handle the beam.

"This is an important project, and it fits very well with ourrole of being a national center for development of high-poweraccelerators for defense and civilian research," Pynn said. "Itwill allow us to continue to develop our competency and tocontinue to attract top-notch young scientists."

The Laboratory is expected to receive about $30 million infunding for the project during the current fiscal year and about$350 million over the seven-year life of the design andconstruction phases, he said.

Within two to three months, an industrial support contractorwill be selected to work with the Laboratory during the designphase. The contract announcement specified that the selectedcontractor will take actions to affect the local economypositively.

Spallation is a term used to describe the reaction that occurswhen a high-energy particle bombards an atomic nucleus, ejectingsome of its neutrons. When aimed at a sample, some of theseneutrons will interact with the nuclei and bounce away at anangle. This phenomenon, called neutron scattering, can providedetailed information that cannot be learned in any other wayabout the structure, motion and atomic interactions of a widerange of materials.

Spallation is a term used to describe the reaction that occurswhen a high-energy particle bombards an atomic nucleus, ejectingsome of its neutrons. When aimed at a sample, some of theseneutrons will interact with the nuclei and bounce away at anangle. This phenomenon, called neutron scattering, can providedetailed information that cannot be learned in any other wayabout the structure, motion and atomic interactions of a widerange of materials.

Neutron scattering research has already been valuable in thedevelopment of such products as small electric motors, plastics,lubricants, jet aircraft and high-temperature superconductors,and the DOE has made construction of a new neutron-scatteringfacility a high priority.

The SNS, which involves Lawrence Berkeley, Brookhaven andArgonne national laboratories as well as Los Alamos and OakRidge, will have an ion source that produces negative hydrogenions, accelerates them to 2.5 million electron volts anddelivers them to the linear accelerator, or linac.

The linac will accelerate the hydrogen ions to one billionelectron volts and transfer them to an accumulator ring, wherethey will be bunched and intensified for delivery onto a mercurytarget to produce the pulsed neutron beam, which is then aimedat the target samples.

Pynn said the accelerator for the new facility will look a lotlike the existing half-mile-long linac that has been inoperation at Los Alamos since the early 1970s.

"I like to show a picture of our facility and then point outthat the difference between the two of them is that here, thesky is blue," he joked.

The main difference is that the number of neutrons produced bythe SNS will be five times that of the existing facility atLANSCE, but Pynn said he expects the Laboratory's facility tocontinue to be attractive.

For one thing, he said, the type of research instrumentation caneasily make up for such a difference in source intensity. Healso said the geographical location would make the Los Alamosfacility more attractive for some researchers in the westernUnited States and said the Laboratory will continue to have adefense-related research role that the SNS will not have.

"There's plenty of room for more than one facility, given theimportance and usefulness of neutrons in research and the demandfor them in the research community," he said.

Pynn said the project participants recognize that sharing theresponsibility for planning and building a large researchfacility among five laboratories will be challenging, but hesaid the challenge is exciting because such collaborations maybecome the model for major scientific projects in the future.

When completed in 2005, the SNS will provide users from federallaboratories, universities and private industry with a powerfulnew tool to study the properties of materials ranging fromliquids to plastics to composites to metals.

More information about the facility is available on the WorldWide Web at http://www.ornl.gov/sns. Information about work onthe project at Los Alamos is available athttp://sns.atdiv.lanl.gov.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by the University ofCalifornia for the U.S. Department of Energy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Los Alamos To Build Most Intense Pulsed Neutron Beam In The World." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981031175156.htm>.
Los Alamos National Laboratory. (1998, November 1). Los Alamos To Build Most Intense Pulsed Neutron Beam In The World. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981031175156.htm
Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Los Alamos To Build Most Intense Pulsed Neutron Beam In The World." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981031175156.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

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