History of Neutron Research in Jülich
The history of neutron research at Forschungszentrum Jülich goes back to 1962, when the research reactors MERLIN and FRJ-2 (DIDO) started operations. FRJ-2 was Germany’s most powerful neutron source between 1981, when research reactor 2 in Karlsruhe was shut down, and 2004, when the research neutron source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) in Garching near Munich began operations.
MERLIN was shut down in 1985 and FRJ-2 was shut down in 2006. In 2006, Forschungszentrum Jülich founded the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS), which develops and operates neutron scattering instruments at leading neutron sources worldwide: at FRM II, Germany’s most powerful neutron source, at the research reactor with the world’s highest neutron flux at Institute Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France, and at the first megawatt spallation neutron source, the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA.
At JCNS, researchers from science and industry are able to make use of unique instruments including specialized sample environment and supplementary labs, supported by the Jülich experts.
The experience gained during the development of spallation sources at Forschungszentrum Jülich goes back to the early 1980s, when Jülich engineers and scientists had already developed the idea of a rotating solid matter target that today is planned for use at ESS. In 1992, Forschungszentrum Jülich and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in England initiated the idea of a European Spallation Source. Eighteen institutes from eleven European countries participated in the project. Since 1993, conceptual and feasibility studies were undertaken.
In addition, since 1993, Jülich has made numerous significant contributions to the technical design of ESS, especially in the area of target design and instrumentation, and from2000 to 2003, it has taken a leading role in evaluating the interests of the European user community. The goal was and is to ensure that a European Spallation Source will meet the needs of future users from a wide range of science sectors. In 2003, it became clear that short-term funding for the project could not be achieved in several partner countries initially. The decision to build ESS in Lund, Sweden, was not taken until 2009. The newly founded Jülich ESS Competence Centre has coordinated Jülich’s contributions to planning and construction since 2011.