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“8th High Brilliance Neutron Source” Workshop and “ELENA Focal Area Meetings”

By Thomas Gutberlet, JCNS

10 October 2022

After two years of virtual meetings, the eighth international workshop on High Brilliance Neutron Sources based on a compact accelerator system was held again as a face-to-face conference from 28-30 September 2022, organized by the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) at its traditional venue in the small village of Unkel on the banks of the Rhine. The three-day workshop had an intensive program with parallel sessions of the "Focal Areas" of the European Low Energy accelerator-based Neutron facilities Association (ELENA) and comprehensive presentations on the various ongoing projects and initiatives. All sessions of the workshop were also open for virtual participation, so that especially participants from Asia and America could be present. 

Participants of the 8th HBS Workshop in front of the Rheinhotel Schulz in Unkel, Germany.
Forschungszentrum Jülich

With more than 50 registrations from colleagues in Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Morocco, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, the workshop was truly international. A considerable number of presentations in the field of accelerators, moderator systems, neutron targets and neutron instrumentation were presented in the ELENA Focal Area Meetings. They led to intense discussions, which also took place during the coffee breaks and made the meeting a very lively event.

On the second and third days, comprehensive reports were given on the recent work and status of HiCANS (High Current Accelerator-driven Neutron Source) projects in Europe, Canada and Japan. Networking activities to establish joint PhD projects in this field and to develop the European landscape of neutron facilities were considered. Finally, closer collaboration between the League of advanced European Neutron Sources (LENS) and the ELENA Association was discussed, e.g., in the area of moderator development.

All participants, who attended in person or participated virtually, enjoyed the very informative presentations and the inspiring atmosphere of the workshop. The next HBS workshop will take place again in September 2023 at the Rheinhotel Schulz in Unkel, Germany.

Further information on the HBS 2022 Workshop

IMoH2022 Poster Prize for Qi Ding

01 July 2022

JCNS physicist Qi Ding has been awarded one of two poster prizes at the “1st International Meeting on Opportunities and Challenges for Hicans – ImoH2022”. “HiCANS” stands for “High-current compact accelerator-driven neutron sources”, referring to novel compact neutron sources based on accelerators that simplify access to neutrons and could enable large universities and research centres to operate their own neutron sources. The meeting took place from 20-22 June in Bilbao, Spain.

Qi Ding presented the results of simulation studies to optimize the geometry of the so-called “target”, the component of HiCANS that releases the neutrons. Other members of the HBS research team at JCNS as well as staff from the Jülich Central Institute of Engineering, Electronics and Analytics – Engineering and Technology (ZEA-1) and RWTH Aachen University were also involved in the research work.

Further information:

IMoH2022 website:  www.imoh.eu

"7th High Brilliance Neutron Source" Workshop and "ELENA Focal Area Meetings"

21-24 September 2021

From 21-24 September 2021, the seventh international workshop on High Brilliance Neutron Sources based on a compact accelerator system took place as virtual conference organized by the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS). Again due to the still ongoing pandemic situation the workshop was a virtual meeting instead of being held at its traditional place in the small village of Unkel on the banks of the river Rhine. In addition, the original two-day workshop was expanded by two extra days to host the “Focal Area Meetings” of the ELENA association.  

Screenshot taken during the online workshop.
Forschungszentrum Jülich

More than 30 presentations from colleagues from Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Spain and Russia filled the workshop with a broad set of presentations, truly international and covering time zones from Asia to North America. On average more than 45 participants followed the presentations on all four days. They were welcomed by Prof. Thomas Brückel, director of JCNS, on the first day. In the ELENA Focal Area Meetings a distinct number of presentations in the field of accelerators, moderator systems, neutron target and neutron instrumentation were presented. They all raised intense discussions in the chat system and made the meetings a lively event.

The workshop started with short summaries on the Focal Area Meetings before a series of comprehensive reports on recent work and status of projects for compact accelerator-based neutron sources (CANS) in Europe, Canada and Japan were given. In the last session of the workshop, Robert McGreevy (ISIS), chair of the “League of Advanced Neutron Sources” (LENS) reported on recent activities and the European Association as well as the relevance of CANS to the future landscape of neutron sources in Europe. Thomas Brückel (JCNS), chair of the “European Low Energy accelerator-based Neutron facilities Association” (ELENA) gave an update of recent activities and future plans. The workshop came to end with a presentation by Ian Swainson (IAEA) on the topic of CANS from the view point of the IAEA.

The next HBS Workshop will be held, hopefully in the well-known format, once more at the Rheinhotel Schulz in Unkel, Germany, in September 2022.

Further information on the HBS 2021 Workshop

5th Joint Workshop of RIKEN RAP and JCNS

9 - 10 June 2021

The Japanese RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics (RAP) and the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) will held their fifth joint workshop on compact accelerator-driven neutron sources (CANS) on June 9 – 10, 2021 as a special webinar due to the current travel restrictions world wide.
The workshop tackled common research topics regarding the development of target, moderator and instrument systems for CANS at both institutes. Introduced by the group leaders Dr. Yoshie Otake (RIKEN RAP) and Dr. Thomas Gutberlet (JCNS HBS) 16 dedicated presentations were given demonstrating current developments and achievements in both groups. A full program of the workshop and further information can be found here.

Another Three Years of Funding for HBS Development

02 November 2020

The development of compact, accelerator-based high-brilliance neutron sources (HBS) represents a promising alternative for small and medium-sized neutron research facilities. These novel sources do not require research reactors or high-energy spallation sources for the production of neutrons, since they efficiently use nuclear processes at low accelerator energies.

In the initial stage, the BMBF, along with the Helmholtz Centres Geesthacht, GSI and Forschungszentrum Jülich, funded the development of these neutron sources with almost € 1 million. This funding has now been approved for another three years within the framework of the Helmholtz’s Innovation Pool Projects in the Research Field Matter. As a result, the project will have approximately a further € 1.5 million available for research and development from 2021-2023.

The scientists involved in the projects from Forschungszentrum Jülich, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, GSI / Helmholtz Institute Mainz and the new partner of Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf plan to jointly develop central components and concepts for accelerator technology, neutron target and moderation, beam extraction and instrumentation. The aim of the project is to enable the technological realization of a novel accelerator-based neutron source in Germany.

“This gives us a solid base for our work in the years to come and we will be able to prepare the Technical Design Report for the realization of this type of source and hopefully also make progress with the development of a prototype for the next generation of neutron sources worldwide”, says Project Leader Dr. Thomas Gutberlet from JCNS.

Half of the funding is provided by the BMBF and half by the participating Helmholtz Centres via the Innovation Pool.



Founding of ELENA – European Association for Low Energy Accelerator-based Neutron Sources

12 October 2020

The leading European laboratories and researchers in the field of new accelerator-based neutron sources as future neutron facilities have founded the European Low Energy accelerator-based Neutron facilities Association, known as ELENA for short. The new association was founded by the partners on 10 September, 2020 at a video conference.

The new association is a not-for-profit consortium formed to promote the cooperation between European laboratories, companies and researchers working in the field of low energy accelerator-based neutron sources. It will place emphasis on cooperation and the initiation of collaborations, research and development at accelerator-based neutron sources within Europe. ELENA will promote activities and projects in this field in Europe and help to develop, improve and enlarge the European neutron facilities ecosystem.

Current members of ELENA are from institutions and organizations such as ESS Bilbao (Spain), IFE (Norway), JCNS (Germany), LLB (France), LNL Legnaro (Italy) and Mirrotron Ltd. (Hungary). Thomas Brückel of JCNS was appointed as Chair of the Association, Alain Menelle of LLB as Vice-Chair.

ELENA is open to new members in Europe. Further information and contact details can be found at  www.ELENA-neutron.eu.



HBS Conceptual Design Report available

18 September 2020

The conceptual design report of the Jülich High Brilliance Neutron Source (HBS) for low energy accelerated-based neutron sources has been compiled and published by the HBS project.

The comprehensive report outlines the basic technical and conceptual aspects of a low energy accelerator-based full-fledged neutron user facility with a 100 kW target system for highest neutron flux. It describes in detail the necessary high current accelerator system, proton beam delivery, neutron production and target/moderator/reflector design, application of potential neutron instruments and overall performance of such a new facility.

The report has been compiled with the support of a large group of scientists and technicians from the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science and Institute of Nuclear Physics at Forschungszentrum Jülich, the INFN Laboratory Nazionali di Legnaro, Paul Scherrer Institut, Institute Laue-Langevin, Institute of Applied Physics of Frankfurt University, Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht and many more scientists across Europe. It will be the baseline for a series of technical design reports (TDR) to be compiled shortly, to describe the detailed technical outline of the main facility components, namely the accelerator system, target/moderator/reflector design and neutron instrumentation.


4th Joint Workshop of RIKEN RAP and JCNS

22 - 24 June 2020

The Japanese RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics (RAP) and the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) will hold their fourth joint workshop on compact accelerator-driven neutron sources (CANS) on 22 - 24 June 2020, as a special webinar due to the current travel restrictions worldwide.

The workshop will tackle common research topics regarding the development of target, moderator and instrument systems for CANS at both institutes.

More information on the full schedule with accompanying lecture notes

3rd Joint Workshop of RIKEN RAP and JCNS

18 March 2019

The Japanese RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics (RAP) and the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) held their third joint workshop on compact accelerator-driven neutron sources (CANS) on 21 February at RIKEN RAP. The workshop tackled common research topics regarding the development of target and moderator systems for CANS at both institutes. It was organized in conjunction with the annual RIKEN Symposium which was focused on “Compact neutron source RANS and RANS II for a safe and secure society” held on 20 February at RIKEN.

More information


JCNS: “High Brilliance Neutron Source” Workshop

23 October 2018

From 4-5 October, 2018, the fourth international workshop on High Brilliance Neutron Sources based on a compact accelerator system was held in Unkel, Germany. Organized by the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS), the workshop was attended by more than 30 experts from France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany. They were welcomed by Prof. Thomas Brückel, director at JCNS, who gave an overview of previous meetings and the significant progress which has already been made to develop compact and high brilliance neutron sources over the last few years.  

More information


2nd Joint Workshop of RIKEN RAP and JCNS

08 June 2018

The Japanese RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics (RAP) and the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) held their second joint workshop on compact accelerator-driven neutron sources (CANS) on 14-15 May, 2018 at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The workshop tackled common research topics regarding the development of target and moderator systems for CANS at both institutes.

More information

NOVA ERA Conceptual Design Report available

The conceptual design of a versatile small compact accelerator based neutron source for science, education and industry has been compiled and published by the HBS project.

The new concept of a small neutron source named NOVA ERA (Neutrons Obtained Via Accelerator for Education and Research Activities) describes a small 400 W average power neutron source based on a commercial electrostatic tandetron. It aims to perform basic experiments with neutrons at universities, research institutes and industry laboratories (see right for more details).

HBS Science Case Workshop 2017

6-7 April 2017

More than 30 experts from Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, England, France, and Denmark joined the HBS Science Case Workshop organized by the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) on 6-7 April, 2017 in Unkle, Germany. The resulting Science Case will be published as part of the forthcoming conceptual design report (CDR) for the high brilliance accelerator-driven neutron source planned by JCNS.

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1st Joint Workshop of RIKEN RAP and JCNS

11 July 2017

The Japanese RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics (RAP) and the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) held a joint workshop on compact accelerator-driven neutron sources (CANS) for the first time on 4-5 July, 2017 at the RIKEN campus in Wako near Tokyo, Japan. The workshop tackled common research topics regarding the development of target and moderator systems for CANS at both institutes.

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HBS-Workshop 2016

29-30 September 2016

An international workshop on the topic of accelerator based high brilliance neutron sources took place in Unkel, Cologne area, in Germany on Sept. 29-30. The workshop was the second workshop of this kind and organized by the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS). The workshop covered the latest developments in the area of targets, moderators, beam extraction, beam guidance and neutron optics, which will make the realization of an extremely compact neutron source possible, with accelerators of relative low final particle energy.

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Press Release: Forschungszentrum Jülich Plans Novel Neutron Source

17 February 2016

Research with neutrons offers unique insights into the internal structure of matter, making it a key technology for many areas of science. These complex studies are often undertaken at research reactors, many of which will reach the end of their operational life in the coming years. Forschungszentrum Jülich has begun to develop a concept for cost-efficient neutron sources which coud replace mid-sized facilities.

The new sources will operate without using reactor-typical chain reactions. Even smaller facilities on a laboratory scale can be set up using the same principle.

Scientists presented the concept and the results of the first component tests in the January edition of the international journal European Physics Journal Plus (DOI: 10.1140/epjp/i2016-16019-5) and at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) on 17 February.

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Last Modified: 10.10.2022