Spallation Neutron Source first of its kind to reach megawatt power (w/ Podcast)

September 28, 2009
Spallation Neutron Source

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Department of Energy's Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), already the world's most powerful facility for pulsed neutron scattering science, is now the first pulsed spallation neutron source to break the one-megawatt barrier.

"Advances in the materials sciences are fundamental to the development of clean and sustainable energy technologies. In reaching this milestone of operating power, the Spallation Neutron Source is providing scientists with an unmatched resource for unlocking the secrets of materials at the molecular level," said Dr. William F. Brinkman, Director of DOE's Office of Science.

SNS operators at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory pushed the controls past the megawatt mark on September 18 as the SNS ramped up for its latest operational run.

The video will load shortly

"The attainment of one in beam power symbolizes the advancement in analytical resources that are now available to the neutron scattering community through the SNS," said ORNL Director Thom Mason, who led the SNS project during its construction. "This is a great achievement not only for DOE and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, but for the entire community of science."

Before the SNS, the world's spallation sources operated in the hundred-kilowatt range. The SNS actually became a world-record holder in August 2007 when it reached 160 kilowatts, earning it an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most powerful pulsed .

Beam power isn't merely a numbers game. A more powerful beam means more neutrons are spalled from SNS's mercury target. For the researcher, the difference in beam intensity is comparable to the ability to see with a car's headlights versus a flashlight. More neutrons also enhance scientific opportunities, including flexibility for smaller samples and for real-time studies at shorter time scales. For example, experiments will be possible that use just one pulse of neutrons to illuminate the dynamics of scientific processes.

Eventually, the SNS will reach its design power of 1.4 megawatts. The gradual increase of beam power has been an ongoing process since the SNS was completed and activated in late April 2006.

In the meantime, scientists have been performing cutting-edge experiments and materials analysis as its eventual suite of 25 instruments comes on line. As DOE Office of Science user facilities, the SNS and its companion facility, the High Flux Isotope Reactor, host researchers from around the world for experiments.

Provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (news : web)

Explore further: Spallation Neutron Source: America Regains Leadership with World Record

Related Stories

Spallation Neutron Source sees first target replacement

July 27, 2009

Having outlasted all expectations of its service life, the original mercury target of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the Department of Energy Office of Science's record-setting neutron science facility at Oak Ridge ...

First neutrons produced by DOE's Spallation Neutron Source

May 1, 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 ...

Recommended for you

Electron highway inside crystal

December 8, 2016

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their ...

Researchers improve qubit lifetime for quantum computers

December 8, 2016

An international team of scientists has succeeded in making further improvements to the lifetime of superconducting quantum circuits. An important prerequisite for the realization of high-performance quantum computers is ...

A nano-roundabout for light

December 8, 2016

Just like in normal road traffic, crossings are indispensable in optical signal processing. In order to avoid collisions, a clear traffic rule is required. A new method has now been developed at TU Wien to provide such a ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.