LENS Initiative Newsletter - June 2023, Issue 7

On 12 September 2018, the LENS Charter was signed, launching a joint initiative to strengthen neutron science in Europe.

Since then, LENS colleagues across Europe have been collaborating in many areas – from sample environments and machine learning, to industry outreach and communications. We have also gained recognition within Europe’s research infrastructure landscape through members’ participation in EU-funded projects and networks such as ARIE.

With LENS’ fifth anniversary on the horizon, we look forward to the opportunity to celebrate the consortium’s achievements and to plan for another five years of fruitful collaboration!

Signing of the LENS Charter, Vienna, 12 September 2018

Through the LENS: foreword by Thomas Brückel

Next-generation low-energy accelerator-based neutron sources could become a critical component of the European neutron scattering ecosystem. In this issue, Thomas Brückel, Director of the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science, explains how European collaborations are working to make this a reality.

Europe has a proud “neutron” history – from the discovery of the neutron and of nuclear fission, to the ILL as the world’s leading neutron research facility. Now we are looking forward to the start of the future world-leading spallation source, the ESS. 

For many years, Europe had the most productive neutron community, regularly producing about half of the world’s publications in the field. This success story was based on two main factors: (i) a healthy ecosystem of neutron facilities, where the flagship was supported by medium and smaller neutron research facilities, and (ii) open access to these facilities based on a peer-reviewed proposal system.

In recent years, we have seen that this system has become increasingly fragile as older research reactors have been decommissioned. We are left with only four large facilities in Europe (ILL, MLZ, ISIS and SINQ) offering a broad range of instruments, and a few small to medium-sized facilities offering a more specialised range of instruments. In recent years, the four major user facilities have not been in continuous operation due to maintenance, planned upgrades and technical problems (apart from Covid). Clearly, such a facility landscape cannot support a large user community of about 5000 users. In particular, in order to establish the next generation of neutron scientists, access for graduate students must be assured at the level of several successful beamtimes during a PhD project. Clearly, a more diverse neutron ecosystem is needed if Europe is to maintain its leading position in research with neutrons and if it is to realize the full potential of the future flagship facility, the ESS!

Hand in hand with LENS, the European Low Energy accelerator-based Neutron facilities Association (ELENA) has taken up this challenge. Partners from France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden are working together to make a dream come true: to build a new generation of neutron research facilities that can replace the former network of research reactors. Recent methodological developments have made the so-called High Current Accelerator-based Neutron Sources (HiCANS) feasible. They are characterised by several distinctive features such as high brightness, efficient neutron utilisation, reliability and resilience due to modular design, easy access and reduced licensing requirements.

At Forschungszentrum Jülich, together with Hereon, University of Frankfurt, and many other partners, we are promoting the most ambitious of these projects, the High Brilliance Neutron Source (HBS). The HBS is designed to provide a full suite of 25 competitive instruments for scattering, analytics, and imaging.

Looking ahead, the flexibility and scalability of HiCANS offer great potential to complement and expand neutron scattering capabilities in Europe. Collaboration between networks, such as between ELENA and LENS, will be key in identifying opportunities for HiCANS and aid their integration into the European neutron ecosystem.

Find out about Thomas' career in Meet the People

Science Highlight

Understanding programmed cell death – crucial to the body’s prevention of cancer
Through both static and time-resolved neutron reflectometry at ISIS, a Swedish/UK research collaboration have been able to reveal the molecular mechanism of the first stage of cell death.



Science Highlight

Efficient Use of Measurement Time Through Machine Learning
A machine learning approach developed at JCNS and tested at MLZ, SINQ and ILL could help to improve the efficiency of neutron spectroscopy experiments at facilities around the world.


© Astrid Eckert, TUM

Recent News

Ken Andersen will be ILL's new General Director

ILL is delighted to announce that its next Director will be Dr Ken Andersen. Ken, who will take up his duties on 16 Oct, is currently Associate Laboratory Director for Neutron Sciences at ORNL, where he oversees the operation and management of the Spallation Neutron Source and the High Flux Isotope Reactor.

£90M funding for ISIS

£90M funding for ISIS Starting this year, the £90M Endeavour Programme will boost ISIS' capacity and capabilities through the construction four new instruments and five significant instrument upgrades over a ten-year period.

LENS Industry Working Group meet in Lund

LENS‘ Industry Working Group, which includes industry contact officers and business development officers of member facilities, met with LEAPS colleagues in Sweden from 30 May – 1 June 2023.

ESS joins Sweden’s Programme for the Presidency of the Council of the EU

In the framework of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union (Jan-June 2023), several events related to Science and Innovation were organised in Lund this month. As well as participating in conferences and workshops, ESS welcomed visitors to the site.

First experiments on CAMEA at SINQ

Over the last two years, the former Rita-II instrument at the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source at PSI has undergone a major upgrade of both the primary and secondary spectrometers. The new cold-neutron multiplexing spectrometer CAMEA (Continuous Angle Multi-Energy Analysis) is optimised for efficient data acquisition of scattered neutrons in the horizontal scattering plane, allowing for detailed and rapid mapping of low-energy excitations under extreme sample environment conditions. The excellent performance of both the instrument [1] and dedicated software [2] have already led to several high-quality publications [ 3, 4, 5, 6 ], showcasing the potential of the massive multiplexing triple-axis concept.

ECNS 2023

From 20-23 Mar, over 500 people were welcomed to MLZ for the Eighth European Conference on Neutron Scattering. The hugely successful event included 165 presentations and 277 posters, and participants had the opportunity to take a guided tour of the facility.

Next ENSA vice chair elected

At the ENSA meeting held during ECNS 2023, Dr Stefano Deledda was elected as ENSA vice chair. Stefano takes over from Lambert van Eijck, who was instrumental in ENSA's contribution to the BrightnESS2 project. The ENSA board would like to thank Lambert for his great work as ENSA vice chair.

Bertaut Prize 2023

The 2023 Erwin Félix Lewy Bertaut Prize was awarded to Dr Matilde Saura-Múzquiz for her impressive early-career contributions to the field of crystallography of functional materials. 

Annual meeting of GEFR@NS

On 10-11 May, the International Research Project, Franco-German Actions in Neutron Science (GEFR@NS) held its 2023 annual meeting in Gif-sur-Yvette. More than 40 attendees met to discuss opportunities for collaboration between French and German partners, with a focus on 'Exploring matter with polarized neutrons: instruments, methods and science'.
Find out more about GEFR@NS >>

ILL's scientific program resumes

As planned, the ILL reactor restarted on 27 Feb following 16 months of key maintenance and major upgrade work. The current user cycle will run until 7 July, and the next from 22 Aug -  27 Sept. Proposals submitted by 15 Sept 2023, if accepted, will be scheduled during the first semester of 2024.

Strengthening international partnerships at ISIS

In the last year, ISIS has renewed MoUs with ILL, ESS and TU Delft , while ISIS' parent organisation, STFC, has signed an MoU with PSI. ISIS also extended its existing agreement with India, with a new agreement in discussion, and signed a new MoU for collaboration with the RIKEN Nishina Centre following the end of the RIKEN-RAL agreement in March.

Garching neutron tomography facility travels around the world

The International Atomic Energy Agency commissioned Burkhard Schillinger (MLZ) to test low-power neutron sources in Argentina and Chile, using a transportable neutron tomography facility developed at MLZ. Within two days, the facility successfully delivered its first test images.

HighNESS/LENS Workshop on UC and VC Neutron Sources

In May, the second HighNESS/LENS workshop on ultra-cold and very-cold neutron sources was held in Lund. The workshop brought together over 50 experts from 21 different countries to discuss ongoing developments at ESS..

French Neutron Scattering Training School 2023

Last week, the Formation Annuelle a la Neutronique took place at ILL. The course, which is organised by 2FDN, provides early-career researchers with a theoretical understanding and hands-on experience of neutron scattering in condensed matter research.

Project updates

Second postdoc cohort selected for GNeuS programme

Global Neutron Scientists (GNeuS) is a structured post-doctoral research programme, training the next generation of neutron scientists through a strong interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach. From 23 applications received during Call 2, 15 successful candidates will soon start their research projects. The third and final call will open on 1 Nov.

ReMade@ARI project

ReMade@ARI, which is supporting the development of materials for a circular economy, closed its first call for transnational access on 30 April, with 34 applications received. A call for SMEs is currently open.

For a great example of neutron scattering in circular materials, check out this highlight from ILL on bio-based sustainable polymers.

Don’t forget to add the ReMade webinar series to your calendar. Most recently, ISIS scientist, Sarah Rogers, gave an overview of SANS and SESANS techniques – the recording is available for catch up.

NEutrons and PHotons Elevating Worldwide Science (NEPHEWS)

In Feb, a proposal for funded access to Europe neutron, synchrotron and free-electron laser facilities was submitted to the HORIZON-INFRA-2023-SERV-01-03 call. If accepted, the proposal will include €15.6M of access for >900 users and 143 twinning activities.

Upcoming Events

ESS Data Management & Software Centre Summer School, 4-8 Sept 2023, Copenhagen (DK)

This summer school will provide training to help neutron scattering scientists fully understand the role that data has in their experiments and how to harness tools that maximise the value of their data.
Find out more >>

25th JCNS Laboratory Course on Neutron Scattering, 4-15 Sept 2023, Garching (DE)

The aim of the course is to give a realistic insight into the experimental techniques of neutron scattering and their scientific potential.
Find out more >>

NNSP-SwedNess Neutron School, 9-22 Sept 2023, Lund (SE)

The Nordic Neutron Science Programme and Swedish Neutron Education for Science & Society programme are proud to present the 6th Graduate School on Neutron Scattering. The school is aimed as an introduction for starting Ph.D. students, but Master students and Post-docs are welcome.
Find out more >>

ISIS Muon User Meeting, 11-12 Sept 2023, Oxford (UK)

This two-day residential event will focus on magnetism and superconductivity to honour the late Pabi Biswas, who spent much of his career at both ISIS and PSI. Register before 11 Aug.
Find out more >>

JCNS Workshop 2023, 9-12 Oct 2023, Tutzing (DE)

The theme of the workshop is Trends and Perspectives in Neutron Scattering: Future Instruments at Pulsed Sources.
Find out more >>

UCANS, 16-19 Oct, Budapest (HU)

The 10th International Meeting of the Union of Compact Accelerator-driven Neutron Sources will include four days of exciting talks, posters, and discussions, as well as a tour to Mirrotron’s LvB CANS in Martonvásár, the first privately-operated CANS facility in Europe.
Find out more >>

SiMol 2023, 30 Oct – 1 Nov 2023, Oxfordshire (UK)

This year, the ISIS Molecular Spectroscopy User Meeting will focus on making the most of simulation and neutron spectroscopy data together.
Find out more >>

International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation and Neutrons in Art and Archaeology, 21-24 Nov 2023, Munich (DE)

This conference offers an invaluable occasion for sharing cutting edge knowledge, expertise, experiences and new technical advances in the field of heritage sciences at large scale facilities.
Find out more >>

Meet the People

Thomas Brückel - Director of the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science

Thomas Brückel is Director of the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS-2), of the Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI-4), and full Professor at RWTH Aachen University.

Thomas studied Physics at the University of Tübingen and did his PhD in neutron scattering at the Hahn Meitner Institute (HMI) in Berlin (now Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB)) and the Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble. His career revolves around neutrons and synchrotron radiation. He worked as instrument scientist at the ILL and at the synchrotron radiation center of DESY, Hamburg, where he focused on magnetic and high energy x-ray scattering. He built a beamline at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) of Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and was visiting scientist at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Since 1997 he works at FZJ.

Thomas’ research interest is on quantum materials and nano-magnetism. He played a key role in the development of instrumentation for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ), which he headed as Scientific Director between 2015 and 2018, and for the JCNS contribution to the European Spallation Source (ESS). His focus is on polarized neutrons. Given the ongoing shut-down of older research reactors in Europe, he has initiated and is pursuing a project for a next generation neutron facility based on low energy accelerator technology, the High Brilliance neutron Source project (HBS).

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