Additional neutron source will meet emerging science challenges

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is moving forward with a conceptual design for a third neutron source: the second target station at SNS, to address emerging science challenges. Neutron scattering is an essential technique for advancing materials research that supports the US economy and provides solutions to challenges in energy, security, and transportation. It provides information that cannot be determined using any other research method.

At ORNL, scientists from around the world access two neutron sources with complementary capabilities to better understand the materials important in physics, biology, chemistry, materials science, and engineering. The Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) provides the most intense, pulsed accelerator-based neutron beams in the world, while the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) is the highest flux reactor-based source of neutrons for research in the United States and provides one of the highest steady-state thermal and cold neutron fluxes of any research reactor in the world.

The second target station will complement ORNL capabilities at the SNS first target station and HFIR by filling gaps in materials research that require the combined use of intense, cold (longer wavelength) neutrons and instruments that are optimized for exploration of complex materials. Together these three facilities form an unbeatable combination that will maintain a US global leadership position in neutron science capabilities. The second target station will feature, 

  • The ability to simultaneously probe the structure and function of complex materials across broader length and time scales, contributing to the understanding and design of novel complex materials.
  • Neutron beams that are ideal for exploiting the magnetic interaction of neutrons with matter to unravel the structure and dynamics arising in complex magnetic materials.
  • High brightness cold neutrons that are suited for experiments with smaller samples than what is currently possible using the SNS first target station.
  • Experiments that will be complemented by other ORNL capabilities, such as high performance computing (HPC) that can contribute to all areas of research.