Accumulator ring commissioning latest step for spallation neutron source

Feb 09, 2006
Accumulator ring commissioning latest step for spallation neutron source
The Spallation Neutron Source's accumulator ring increases the intensity of protons from the linear accelerator 1000-fold before they are sent to the target.

The Department of Energy's Spallation Neutron Source, located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has passed another milestone on the way to completion this year--the commissioning of the proton accumulator ring. The accumulator ring is the final step in a proton's journey through the accelerator before it strikes the SNS's mercury target, "spalling" away neutrons to be used for research.

The DOE Office of Science facility will produce the world's most intense neutron beams to probe the molecular structures of materials. As a user facility, the SNS is expected to attract researchers from all over the globe.

"The ring is the last major accelerator element delivered by one of the partner labs in the six-laboratory project," said SNS Director Thom Mason. "Its successful operation confirms not just the robustness of the Brookhaven National Laboratory components but also the full integration of accelerator hardware designed and built using expertise throughout the national DOE complex. We are looking forward to the first beam on target later this year."

Brookhaven Lab led the design and construction of the accumulator ring, which will allow an order of magnitude more beam power than any other facility in the world.

In SNS operation, the superconducting linac produces proton pulses traveling at almost 90 percent of the speed of light. In the ring, the protons within a pulse are "accumulated" to increase the intensity 1,000-fold. At that point, this now very intense pulse is extracted and delivered to the mercury target to produce neutrons. This happens 60 times per second.

After only three days of its initial operation, the ring accumulated protons, which were then extracted and sent to a point just short of the target.

"With this extraordinary success, we are definitely on our way to operate the world's highest intensity proton accelerator," said SNS Accelerator Systems Division Director Norbert Holtkamp.

"The successful commissioning of the accumulator ring--in record time for this type of device--is a testament to the extraordinary collaboration between Brookhaven and Oak Ridge," said Jie Wei, who led the Brookhaven team.

Because of their lack of charge, neutrons have a superior ability to penetrate materials. Researchers can determine a material's molecular structure by analyzing the way the neutrons scatter after striking atoms within a target material. SNS will direct the spalled neutrons to a host of state-of-the-art instruments.

The SNS will become the world's leading research facility for study of the structure and dynamics of materials using neutrons. It will operate as a user facility that will enable researchers from the United States and abroad to study the science of materials that forms the basis for new technologies in telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation, information technology, biotechnology and health.

SNS will increase the number of neutrons available to researchers nearly tenfold, providing clearer images of molecular structures. Together, ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor and SNS will represent the world's foremost facilities for neutron scattering, a technique pioneered at ORNL shortly after World War II.

Five Department of Energy Office of Science laboratories--Argonne, Berkeley, Brookhaven, Jefferson and Los Alamos--participated with Oak Ridge in the design of the SNS project. The $1.4 billion project has been constructed on time and on budget with a safety record of 4.2 million hours without a lost workday injury.

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Explore further: Cool calculations for cold atoms: New theory of universal three-body encounters

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spallation Neutron Source sees first target replacement

Jul 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 ...

Hubble Telescope Celebrates SN 1987A's 20th Anniversary

Feb 22, 2007

Twenty years ago, astronomers witnessed one of the brightest stellar explosions in more than 400 years. The titanic supernova, called SN 1987A, blazed with the power of 100 million suns for several months following ...

Spallation Neutron Source Amazing Science Facts

Dec 22, 2005

The New Year is bringing the science community a grand present: The Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. On schedule for completion in 2006, the Department of Energy's new science facility ...

Supernova Explosion May Have Caused Mammoth Extinction

Sep 23, 2005

A distant supernova that exploded 41,000 years ago may have led to the extinction of the mammoth, according to research that will be presented tomorrow (Sept. 24) by nuclear scientist Richard Firestone of ...

Recommended for you

New method for non-invasive prostate cancer screening

9 hours ago

Cancer screening is a critical approach for preventing cancer deaths because cases caught early are often more treatable. But while there are already existing ways to screen for different types of cancer, ...

How bubble studies benefit science and engineering

10 hours ago

The image above shows a perfect bubble imploding in weightlessness. This bubble, and many like it, are produced by the researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. What ...

Famous Feynman lectures put online with free access

11 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Back in the early sixties, physicist Richard Feynman gave a series of lectures on physics to first year students at Caltech—those lectures were subsequently put into print and made into text ...

Single laser stops molecular tumbling motion instantly

15 hours ago

In the quantum world, making the simple atom behave is one thing, but making the more complex molecule behave is another story. Now Northwestern University scientists have figured out an elegant way to stop a molecule from ...

User comments : 0