The US Department of Energy (DOE) has approved the release of a report on the neutron research capabilities being planned for the Second Target Station (STS) to be built at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Available online in a full and abridged version, the document is titled First Experiments: New Science Opportunities at the Spallation Neutron Source Second Target Station.

The report details how the STS will permit transformative new science in many fields of research. One section presents examples of opportunities for researchers to conduct unprecedented, STS-enabled experiments in five critical areas of science: polymers and soft materials, quantum matter, materials synthesis and energy materials, structural materials, and biology and life sciences. Key aspects of the STS design, including preliminary descriptions of possible research instruments, are also reported.

The capabilities offered by the STS will complement those of two existing DOE neutron scattering user facilities at ORNL: the First Target Station (FTS) of the SNS and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), as well as those of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research (NCNR).

The STS has a pivotal role to play in extending the research of neutron scattering to new transformative opportunities for discovery science, including in particular applications that require time-resolved examination of highly complex materials over greatly increased length, energy, and time scales. It will enable experiments that will not be possible at any other facility in the world.

ORNL has pioneered neutron research and materials science since 1944. Previous research using the unique properties of neutrons at ORNL has already contributed to innovations and improvements for many technologies, including mobile phones, computers, medicines and medical devices, automobile engines, batteries, manufacturing, chemicals production, and spacecraft propulsion. More information is available in a four-page plain-language summary brochure of STS capabilities and applications, titled The Second Target Station at the Spallation Neutron Source: Transformative New Capabilities for Discovery Science.

Maintaining leadership in materials science will continue to advance these and many future technologies that are vital to our nation’s security and economy. ORNL’s three world-class, integrated neutron facilities — FTS, STS and HFIR — with their expert scientific and support staffs, will ensure US industry, military, national security agencies, universities, and research organizations have access to the world’s foremost neutron sources and the latest advances in materials research.

The SNS and HFIR are DOE Office of Science User Facilities. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle LLC for DOE’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit –by Paul Boisvert