LENS Initiative Newsletter - May 2022, Issue 4

90 years of neutrons!
On 1 June 1932, James Chadwick published ‘The existence of a neutron’. Chadwick is famously quoted as saying “I am afraid neutrons will not be of any use to anyone”. As demonstrated by the vibrant neutron scattering community today (and the many contributions below), this is far from the reality!

So, to mark 90 years since the discovery of the neutron, we invite you to add to our Padlet below, to share how neutrons have, in fact, been very useful in your research!

Made with Padlet

Through the LENS: foreword by Marc Janoschek

In this issue, Marc Janoschek, technical director of the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source, SINQ, at PSI and lead of LENS Working Group 3, explains how European collaboration is advancing technology for neutron science.

Following the LENS kick-off in March 2019, Working Group 3 (Synergies in Technological Development and Operation), led by Martin Boehm (ILL) and myself, entered a stage of excitement and accelerated activities to define synergistic projects for a new generation of neutron science experiments. Within just a few months, several innovative projects on neutron technology were identified for experiments in quantum science, energy materials and health. This was only possible because WG3 was able to build on the long-standing and successful history of European collaboration among the various LENS facilities.

Immediately after this first exciting phase of LENS, the COVID-19 pandemic provided us with an opportunity to learn how to collaborate virtually. At the same time, we were also reminded that the best ideas often emerge via informal interactions during lunch, coffee, or dinner breaks of workshops and conferences. I was glad to re-experience the excitement of exchanging new ideas first-hand last fall, while attending the Innovative Inelastic Neutron Scattering (i2ns) workshop close to Grenoble, where the current and next generation of neutron spectrometers, data acquisition and analysis strategies were discussed lively. In particular, for early-career neutron scatterers that started during the pandemic, it is now high time to finally experience the vibrant culture of collaboration in the neutron community – be that at conferences and workshops, or during experiments. This was obvious from the students present at the workshop that beamed with excitement.

One of the many ideas discussed at i2ns happens to be also one of LENS’ priorities, namely, extending the available range of magnetic fields beyond the currently available 15 tesla by using HTS magnets. For this project, we will continue our discussion and refine technical ideas and opportunities with our colleagues from the European high magnetic field community at the Perspectives of Magnetic Fields at Neutron Sources workshop in Grenoble. Beyond magnetic fields, I am convinced that LENS WG3 will now enter a period of renewed excitement enabled by the opportunities of in-person interactions at various meetings happening this year, which will generally allow us to push our ideas and collaborations forward. The timing couldn’t be better; looking to Lund where at the European Spallation Source—the next-generation European neutron flagship facility—the first few instruments are starting to take shape (for examples, see ESS updates) and will soon be able to benefit from the fruits of LENS technical collaborations in WG3.

In anticipation of hearing about many visionary ideas, I am looking very much forward to many in-person interactions with all of you over the rest of the year!

Find out about Marc's career in Meet the People

Science Highlight

Aggregates of amyloid beta- (Aβ-)peptide, known as fibrils, are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease and play a key role in the sequence of events leading to dementia symptoms. Using small-angle neutron and X-ray scattering, researchers from Lund University and the Paul Scherrer Institut have determined the detailed structure of Aβ42-fibril, obtaining important information to design future therapeutics.


Recent News

Screenshot of Zoom meeting
LENS Meetings

In February, representatives from LENS and the wider neutron scattering community met online to discuss the current and future activities of the initiative. Find out more >>

International Women's Day 2022

To celebrate International Women's Day on 8 March, we asked female colleagues at Europe's neutron scattering facilities to share their insights and advice for women in STEM. Find out what they said >>

Update from ILL

The long shutdown works are right on plan in technical terms, and with respect to the ILL20-23 budget and timeline. At present, a restart at the beginning of December 2022 remains a challenging but still realistic reference target (soonest restart) since our two-month contingency could remain unused (latest restart begin of Feb 2023).

The H1-H2 beam tube, which distributes the neutrons to the whole of the ILL 7 experimental hall – is now installed in the reactor block.

The reactor teams are now preparing the remaining projects, and in particular for the safety test which has to be performed to ensure that the fuel element will remain under water in even the worst scenario. Other operations are being carried out in parallel.

As for the instruments, the work is progressing apace. There is also progress on H24. The concrete floors have been laid for future instruments D10+ and XtremD, right on time for the installation of the marble slabs. The new H24 guide in ILL7 has been installed and three-quarters aligned. Things are also going well on the other side of the hall, with H15: the foundations have been laid for future instruments SAM and D11+ and work is proceeding as planned for the future cold guide casemate. Another big guide project is being completed on time these days  (replacement of the eleven ill5/ill7 guides mechanical system crossing the reactor wall, to comply with new seismic requirements)

Finally, there’s the future neutron imaging station NEXT, which will be taking over from the neutron tomography instrument D50: a tailor-made floor slab is ready and the NEXT mechanical structure is installed allowing work to start on the construction of the instrument in May.

NMSUM 2022

For over 10 years, the UK Neutron & Muon Science and User Meeting has provided a forum for UK users of ISIS and the ILL to share their research, network with other scientists and to hear updates from the facilities. This year, 250 users returned to Warwick University for a packed programme that included a dedicated student day, science day and user day.

During the meeting, the Neutron Scattering Group of the Institute of Physics and Royal Society of Chemistry presented the 2022 BTM Willis Prize to Dr Alexander O’Malley for his novel and influential applications of neutron spectroscopy in catalytic science.

Joint symposium marks the opening of ESS User Labs

On 4-5 May, staff from ESS and ISIS Neutron and Muon Source celebrated their successful collaboration with the opening of the first user laboratories at ESS. The state-of-the-art labs will be available for sample characterisation and preparation before, during, and after experiments at the ESS.


ISIS Impact Awards 2022

Every year, ISIS presents three Impact Awards to celebrate the scientific, social and economic impact of the facility's diverse user community.

Find out about this year’s prize winners >>

MLZ Annual Report 2021

If you are wondering what a neutron source without neutrons can possibly do, you may be surprised to learn just how busy it can get! Read about the wide-ranging scientific and technical activities at MLZ in their latest annual report >>

SANS-LLB at PSI: keeping up with community needs

The shutdown of the Orphée reactor at LLB (Saclay, France) and the upgrade of the SINQ neutron guide system at PSI (Villigen, Switzerland) in 2019 have enabled a long-term collaboration between PSI and LLB. The aim is to bring a new SANS instrument to the neutron scattering community, keeping up with its needs in the coming years.

The SANS-LLB instrument, formerly known as PA-20, has travelled more than 500 km, and since 2020 is being commissioned at SINQ/PSI as a collaborative effort between PSI and LLB. Apart from employing the state-of-the-art instrumentation of PA-20, the polarizer, the collimation, and the sample table were updated for SANS-LLB, to adapt to the new neutron source and other sample environments available at PSI. SANS-LLB expects to receive its first friendly users in the second half of 2022, and to join the user program in 2023. For this period, a user proposal call should be announced by PSI and LLB around November 2022. The user community is looking forward for SANS-LLB, as expressed by the large number of participants in Strasbourg/France last March, during the French-Swiss Meeting “SANS for Soft Matter”, organized jointly by the PSI-LLB team.

LLB test new high-power target

High-brilliance Compact Accelerator-driven Neutron Sources (HiCANS) could become a key part of the ecosystem of European neutron facilities. At LLB, researchers have designed and tested a new high-power beryllium target for use in the LLB HiCANS project.

Read more >> 

3D-print your own neutron!

Tobias Neuwirth, PhD student at the ANTARES neutron imaging facility (MLZ), has developed a special boron nitride-containing filament that can be used to 3D-print components for the beamline.

In his free time, he created this fantastic model of a neutron that you can print yourself!

Find out more >>

Project Updates

BrightnESS2 project comes to an end

On 13 – 14 June, the BrightnESS2 project will hold its final General Assembly, celebrating the project’s many successes in strengthening European neutron science and ensuring the long-term sustainability of ESS.

As part of the project, representatives from BrightnESS2 and LENS have been collaborating on a common roadmap for neutron science in Europe, which is due to be published in June 2022.

Proposal submitted for NextGNeuS project

LENS members are among 10 partners that recently submitted a proposal to a Horizon Europe call for Research Infrastructure Concept Development.

If funded, the project, Innovative concept for a sustainable network of Next Generation Neutron Sources, would work to ensure the security and sustainability of the European neutron ecosystem by developing a strong collaboration to advance an innovative concept for the construction and operation of low-energy accelerator-based neutron sources across Europe.

Advanced Neutron Imaging for Solid-State Batteries in Action

Solid-state batteries are considered to be a key technology in the move towards a fossil-free and climate-neutral society. A new international research project, ANISSA, will use neutron and X-ray imaging to develop and optimise new solid-state battery materials.


Upcoming Events

Neutrons for Science and Industry, hybrid seminar series, Mondays at 14:30 CEST

This weekly seminar series by MLZ will be running until the end of July, restarting again in October.
View the list of upcoming talks >>


Lipid Bilayers at ESS, 13 – 15 Jun 2022, Lund (Sweden)

This workshop will bring together researchers working on the physico-chemical characterisation of lipid bilayers using experimental (including scattering and direct space techniques) and theoretical approaches.
Find out more >>


IMoH 2022, 20 – 22 Jun 2022, Leioa (Spain)

The International Meeting on Challenges and Opportunities for HICANS will take place at the BCMaterials headquarters in the Basque Country. The conference will explore challenges and opportunities in the development and application of high-intensity compact accelerator-driven neutron sources for science.
Find out more and register >>


PARI 2022, 18 – 20 July 2020, SKAO Global Headquarters (UK) and online

The Public Awareness of Research Infrastructures returns this year as a hybrid meeting. The conference will bring together public relations practitioners, science communicators, educators, and researchers to exchange best practices and lessons learned in communicating the activities of research infrastructures.
Find out more and register >>


ICNS 2022, 21 – 25 Aug 2022, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

ICNS 2022 will be the largest international platform for sharing and exchanging the latest exciting advances in neutron scattering science, including a broad range of topics.
Find out more and register >>


MuSR2020, 28 Aug – 2 Sept 2022, Parma (Italy)

The long-delayed MuSR2020 conference will be held at the Science and Technology Campus in Parma. The conference will cover all aspects of the use of muon spectroscopy in condensed matter, materials and molecular sciences, while also considering applications of muons in other areas, such as nuclear physics, cultural heritage and the study of single event failures arising from the irradiation of microelectronics.
Registration and Call for Abstracts are now open >>


17th Oxford School on Neutron Scattering, 5 – 15 Sept 2022, Oxford (UK)

An ideal introduction to the theory, techniques and applications of neutron scattering for scientists and engineers who are new to the field.
Find out more >>


Joint ESS ILL User Meeting, 5 – 7 Oct 2022, Lund (Sweden)

Registration is open for the third ESS ILL User Meeting, which will provide an opportunity to review the achievements of the user community, present the current status of ILL and ESS, and look forward to the scientific opportunities ahead for neutron science.
Find out more and register >>


JCNS Workshop 2022, 11 – 14 Oct 2022, Tutzing (Germany)

The JCNS workshop 2022 will bring together experts in neutron scattering methods with users and software experts to review techniques and discuss new capabilities as well as future developments for the next digital transformation.
Find out more and register >>

Meet the People

Leader of Working Group 3 - Marc Janoschek

Marc Janoschek’s first experience with neutron scattering was as a visiting undergraduate student at the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble. During this time, he became fascinated by the idea of using large-scale instrumentation to learn about the inner workings of materials and joined Prof. Peter Böni’s group at the Technical University of Munich.

First, as a master student at the ILL, and then during a PhD student at TUM and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), he developed and used the neutron polarimeter MuPAD for the unambiguous determination of complex magnetic structures, for which he received a PhD in 2008. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cologne, he led the effort to design the polarised triple axis spectrometer, KOMPASS, for the FRM-II reactor at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ). In 2009, as a Feodor Lynen fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Marc moved to the University of California, San Diego, and acquired further expertise in the synthesis of high-quality single crystals and low-temperature bulk measurements. In 2011 Marc joined Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), where he was the capability leader for neutron scattering in the Condensed Matter & Magnet Science group.

In 2018, Marc rejoined PSI, where he holds a joint appointment as an associate professor at the University of Zurich to lead the Laboratory of Neutron and Muon Instrumentation (LIN), which provides technical support and develops instrumentation for the Swiss spallation neutron source, SINQ, and the Swiss muon source, SµS. He is also in charge of the 35 MCHF PSI-ESS project that delivers in-kind contributions to five out of the 15 instruments of the European Spallation Source (ESS) currently under construction in Sweden, among them the innovative reflectometer ESTIA, which is entirely designed and built by PSI.

Marc’s research explores the emergent properties of strongly correlated quantum materials via x-ray and neutron scattering, which has earned him several awards including the Wolfram-Prandl prize of the German Committee Research with Neutrons, and the LANL Fellows Award for Outstanding Research in Science or Engineering. Since 2016 he is also a Hans Fischer Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at TUM. Marc is broadly engaged in the European neutron community; since 2019 he has led Working Group 3 within LENS, and since 2021 he has been the chair of the Instrument Collaboration Board at the ESS, the president of the Swiss Neutron Science Society (SNSS), and the Swiss delegate to European Neutron Scattering Association (ENSA).

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