Author name: Stephanie Richardson

Non-Destructive Characterisation of Fossil Echinoids

Researchers of BNC developed a state-of-the-art combination of three-dimensional surface and volumetric digital imaging techniques, as well as position-resolved element composition analysis by PGAI, to scrutinize the rocks containing fossils of the Parascutella gibbercula sea urchins.

The methodology used in the described study opens new perspectives in the understanding of the sedimentation conditions of the sea bottom.

Monte-Carlo calculated detector response functions to unfold radiative neutron capture spectra

A complete set of detector response functions, i.e. the gamma spectra corresponding to incremental gamma-ray energies up to 12 MeV, were obtained for the Budapest PGAA facility by geant4 Monte-Carlo simulations and were used to unfold the experimental prompt-gamma spectra, for use in nuclear physics.

The unfolding successfully removed the continuous Compton-background and the escape peaks related to a full-energy peak but preserved the shape and area of the full-energy peak itself.

Structuring of nanoparticle suspension probed by neutron reflectivity

The behaviour of colloidal particles at water-solid interfaces is relevant in material science, food processing, medicine and environmental engineering. A team from the University of Geneva with researchers from the Budapest Neutron Centre used neutron reflectivity to study colloidal silica nanoparticle suspensions near the (negatively) like-charged native-oxide-covered surface of Si. Intriguingly, the nanospheres develop a self-organised damped, oscillatory concentration profile normal to the interface, as demonstrated in the figure.

Research with neutrons for better mRNA vaccines

In December 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use across the EU, marking a crucial step forward in the fight against coronavirus. The development of this COVID-19 vaccine built on important research that was undertaken by Mainz-based biotechnology company, BioNTech, in collaboration with the Jülich Center for Neutron Science (JCNS). Using neutron scattering instruments operated by the JCNS at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Center in Garching, researchers investigated new approaches for the packaging and delivery of the mRNA. Such experiments provide important insights into the relationship between structural properties, biological activity and the vaccine production process, which will help to advance the development of RNA therapeutics and vaccines.

LENS Machine Learning School 2021

From 15 – 19 February 2021, over 80 participants attended the online LENS Machine Learning School. The school, which was targeted towards neutron and muon facilities staff, offered a gateway for beginner and intermediate coders to get into machine learning, providing an overview of ​modern and traditional machine learning techniques alongside neutron or​​​ muon based applications.