VENUS neutron imaging beamline

The VENUS instrument is currently under construction at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). Planned for completion in 2024, VENUS will be one of the most state-of-the-art beamlines for neutron imaging that will enable exciting new ways of studying a wide range of diverse materials currently not possible for open research programs in the U.S.

Neutron imaging is a powerful technique used to generate pictures of the internal structure of materials. The images, called radiographs, are similar to clinical x-rays that use contrast variations to reveal the internal structure of objects as neutrons are absorbed or deflected by different atoms inside a material.

Whereas the IMAGING beamline at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) utilizes a steady-state or constant beam of neutrons, VENUS will feature time-of-flight capabilities enabled by the SNS pulsed-source accelerator. Leveraging the time-of-flight capability, VENUS combines the properties of diffraction and spectroscopy that will allow users to simultaneously collect data on both the structure and behavioral dynamics of materials at the atomic scale.

Recent milestones

Physical construction of the beamline began in 2019. With the majority of foundational work coming to a close, such as pouring concrete and installing heavy steel components, construction is shifting to focus on shielding and support structures for shutter inserts and optical components. To date, major construction milestones include:

  • Front-end shielding railing system: A rail system was designed to allow the removable of the first ~ 15 meter shielding blocks, choppers and collimators at VENUS
  • Variable Aperture System (VAS): the VAS was tested and installed at VENUS, positioned 4.5 meters from the moderator, the VAS defines different collimation ratios, the so-called L/Ds (where L is the distance from the source to the detector and D is the diameter of the VAS apertures), from 500 to 2000
  • VENUS Cave Design and Construction: Final design of the VENUS cave was followed by installation of the high-density concrete pours of the cave walls
  • VENUS Cave Door Design: The VENUS cave door design was completed and a kick-off meeting was held with the fabricator