LENS Initiative Newsletter - Jan 2023, Issue 6

In this issue, we look back at some of the highlights that closed out a very productive year for the European neutron community, setting the stage for many scientific and technical collaborations, events and awards coming up in 2023.

To kick-off the new year, we’re delighted to welcome the Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (NPI) as a member of LENS. You can find out more about NPI in Through the LENS.

We wish you all a very happy and successful new year!

Through the LENS: foreword by Pavel Strunz

On behalf of LENS’ newest member, Pavel Strunz, Head of the Neutron Physics Laboratory at NPI, introduces the facility, its user community, and its role in coordinating the Czech Republic’s contribution to ESS.

The Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (NPI) is located in Řež, which is about 15 km north of Prague. The experimental base for our neutron science is mainly the Neutron Physics Laboratory at the LVR-15 nuclear reactor, operated by Research Center Řež.

The Neutron Physics Laboratory is part of the Center of Accelerators and Nuclear Analytical Methods, which provides users with experimental techniques also at our accelerators (cyclotrons, Tandetron and AMS accelerator), including radioisotope production, nuclear analytical methods and radiocarbon dating.

The academic part of the Czech neutron user community is mainly concentrated around the three largest institutions in the field – the Nuclear Physics Institute, the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University. Of course, a large number of neutron users also come from other academic institutions and our industrial partners. The Czech user community is largely focused on solving problems in the study and development of advanced materials, and our Neutron Physics Laboratory is also methodologically oriented the same way.

The Neutron Physics Laboratory offers seven instruments on the horizontal reactor channels and a special experimental method on the vertical channels (neutron activation analysis – NAA). Our experimental stations are in some cases unique and complementary to those available in other European labs (e.g. high-resolution SANS, high-resolution materials science diffractometer, Neutron Depth Profiling). Besides the reactor, fast neutron facilities are also available at our cyclotrons U-120M and TR-24. Quasi-monoenergetic generator of fast neutrons based on 7Li(p,n) reaction as well as variable-energy broad-spectrum neutron generators with Be target can be used for investigation of radiation hardness of electronic components or neutron cross-section measurements of materials intended e.g. for the first wall of future fusion reactor.

The focus on materials science also logically influenced the form of NPI’s involvement in the construction of the ESS at Lund. In addition to a number of target technology deliveries, the scientific part of the in-kind contribution of the Czech Republic, which NPI has the honour to coordinate, is the development, manufacture and installation of the BEER neutron diffractometer (Beamline for European Materials Engineering Research), on which we are working closely with Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon in Geesthacht. Putting the BEER diffractometer into routine operation is a major challenge for us. We firmly believe it will bring substantial scientific progress in our field and significantly strengthen our collaboration with the European partners.

Find out about Pavel's career in Meet the People

Science Highlight

Secrets of a silky cotton shirt
Neutron fibre diffraction experiments at ILL throw light on mercerisation – an important manufacturing process in the textile industry.


Industry Highlight

A team from Audi Sport joined forces with the Advanced Materials Group within the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering and Imaging at SINQ (PSI), and technology transfer centre, ANAXAM, to examine a brake caliper in action using neutron imaging. The analyses revealed ways to optimise the movement of the brake pistons to reduce a vehicle’s carbon footprint.



Recent News

Renewed MoU between ISIS and ESS

The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed on 2 Dec, covers the development and exploitation of pulsed spallation neutron sources and related infrastructure.


For a behind-the-scenes look at the goings-on at ISIS, follow @ISISneutronmuon on Instagram.

First neutrons from next generation source in Jülich

On 12 Dec, researchers from JCNS achieved a significant breakthrough in the development of accelerator-driven, low-energy compact neutron sources by delivering first neutrons with a powerful new target/moderator technology.



Since 2017, the IN6-SHARP spectrometer, built at LLB, has operated as a CRG instrument at ILL. In Nov, the upgraded instrument was transferred to its final position at the end of the H15 guide at ILL, ready for operation as SHARP+ in 2024. 


ENSA-ECA award open for nomination

The Bertaut Prize is awarded in recognition of notable experimental, methodological or theoretical contributions to the investigation of matter, using crystallographic or neutron scattering methods.

The deadline for nominations is 15 Feb, with the award to be presented at ECNS2023.

More information >>

>300 researchers attend ESS-ILL User Meeting 2022

The event was a great opportunity to hear from top researchers in the neutron community, to network and socialise, and to see the huge progress in the construction of ESS. Thank you to everyone who came together to make the event such a success.


To find out about the latest scientific publications by the people of ESS, visit the facility’s new Highlights of Published Papers page.
MLZ User Meeting 2022

On 8 - 9 Dec, MLZ was pleased to welcome 225 attendees to Munich for lectures, posters and networking. During the user meeting, the three partners of MLZ presented their program for the renewal of the scientific instruments.


7.9 million euros for research at MLZ

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the development and expansion of scientific instruments at MLZ. In addition to the Technical University of Munich, five other German universities and institutes are participating.


Want more news from MLZ? Take a look at their latest newsletter.
Perspectives with High Magnetic Fields at Neutron Sources

From 2 – 4 Nov, scientific and technical experts in high-fields and neutron facilities met at ILL to discuss the needs of the neutron community, evaluate technical challenges, and prepare a roadmap to develop unprecedented capabilities.

See the programme >>

MuonSources.org relaunch

MuonSources.org relaunch Head over to the new-look MuonSources website for resources, training and updates from the international muon community.

Go to MuonSources >>

Project updates

GNeus project

On 18 Jan, the second call for applicants to the Global Neutron Scientists (GNeuS) postdoctoral research programme closed, with 23 applications currently under review. Research fellows accepted in the project’s first call have already begun work at MLZ - you can find out more in the latest GNeuS newsletter.

ReMade@ARI project

In Sept 2022, ReMade@ARI launched as a hub for materials research for a circular economy, with ILL, ISIS, MLZ, PSI and BNC among the project partners.

Find out more about the project’s goals and participants at remade-project.eu, and follow the project's updates on Twitter @Remade_at_ARI.

Upcoming Events

ECNS 2023, 20 - 23 March

The programme is now online for the upcoming European Conference on Neutron Scattering, hosted by MLZ.

Register by 1 Feb >>

LENS Workshop on Laser-driven Neutron Sources, 1 – 3 March, Lund (Sweden)

The goal of this workshop is to discuss the state-of-the-art and future perspectives of laser-driven neutron sources, in the context of providing alternative ways to produce neutrons. Find out more >>


NMSUM 2023, 19 – 21 Apr, Warwick (UK)

The UK Neutron & Muon Science and User Meeting, jointly organised by the IoP/RSC Neutron Scattering Group, ISIS and ILL, is a chance for UK users of neutrons and muons to hear about the latest science using these techniques, together with facility updates and other news of interest to the community. Find out more >>

CETS 2023, 23 – 28 Apr, Budapest (Hungary)

The Central European Training School on Neutron Techniques is aimed at master and PhD students, and early-career researchers with little or no experience in neutron techniques but who are interested in using them in their research projects. Following introductory lectures, participants will have the opportunity for practical experience under the tuition of instrument scientists. Find out more >>


MLZ Conference 2023: Neutrons for Biomaterials, 22 – 25 May, Munich (Germany)

This event is a forum for experts from universities and industry to illustrate the potential of neutron and other scattering methods in the characterisation and development of new biomaterials. Find out more >>

HighNESS International School on Thermal Neutron Scattering Generation, 22 – 26 May, Lund (Sweden)

This training will provide graduate students and early career researchers with tools to model the interaction of low energy neutrons with matter, with applications to neutron thermalisation, nuclear data, neutron moderators, neutron reflectors and neutron scattering instruments. Find out more >>

Neutron Scattering for a Sustainable Society, 25 – 30 June, California (USA)

This Gordon Research Conference will showcase the role of neutron scattering in improving wellbeing and progressing society, specifically in helping tackle some of our current societal challenges. It aims to bring together world-leading scientists, neutron scattering experts and young researchers to discuss the needs of the scientific community, as well as how and what advances in source and instrumentation, operational approaches and complementary infrastructure, would be best in these challenging endeavours. Find out more >>

Meet the People

Pavel Strunz - Head of Neutron Physics Department at NPI

Pavel Strunz commenced his professional career in neutron physics in 1989 as a PhD student in Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences. He carried out experiments predominantly at LVR-15 research reactor in Řež, but also at Salaspils near Riga (Latvia) reactor and at BRR reactor of Budapest Neutron Centre, Hungary. He then became a postdoc, and in 1988 he started at Hahn-Meitner Institute (presently Helmholz Zentrum Berlin), Germany, at BER-II reactor where he focused on Small-Angle Neutron Scattering investigation of high temperature materials. In connection with this research topic, he developed software for evaluation of anisotropic SANS data.

In the period 2002-2004, Pavel Strunz continued with materials research topics, particularly Ni-base superalloys and Co-Re alloys, as the instrument scientist of SANS-II device of SINQ neutron scattering center, Paul-Scherrer Institut Villigen, Switzerland. Starting from 2004, he employed neutron diffraction as the instrument scientist of MAUD diffractometer of Neutron Physics Laboratory (NPL) in NPI Řež, Czech Republic. Pavel Strunz also carried out a number of user experiments at MLZ Garching. In parallel, he coordinated the open access of the user to NPL within NMI3 consortium project.

Since then, he has been actively involved in European collaborations in neutron physics. In 2012, Pavel Strunz became the head of Neutron Physics Department of NPI Řež. His scientific focus is investigation of metals and composites (e.g. Co-Re alloys, Ti alloys, W alloys, Cu-Al composites, metals after severe plastic deformation) by using neutron diffraction.

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