Target Systems Upgrades

The Basics

The protons that were bunched together in the Accumulator Ring are sent toward a target station building surrounding a central core where a liquid mercury target is installed. The target contains about 370 gallons (20 tons) of liquid mercury, and a bunch, or pulse, of protons hits the target with tremendous energy 60x per second. That energy knocks away, or “spalls,” (hence the name “Spallation Neutron Source”) neutrons from the nuclei of the mercury atoms, which are directed down beamlines toward the instruments that scientists use when performing neutron experiments.

PPU Upgrades

The PPU will enable delivering a 2.0-megawatt proton beam to the target, which was originally designed for a 1.4-megawatt beam. Therefore, the PPU will include installing a new target that has increased capacity.

Target lifetime will be enhanced using gas injection and jet flow. The pressure waves created when the proton pulses strike the target will be lessened by injecting helium gas bubbles into the liquid mercury at more than 10x the current level, and damage caused by turbulence inside the target will be further diminished by using a high-velocity mercury flow (jet flow) system to help spread out the heat and energy. Gas injection is expected to reduce pressure-induced stresses by about 40%. Reducing damage from turbulence by jet flow has also been demonstrated at SNS.

A new target with an enhanced structural design will be installed to handle the increased beam power.