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Neutron Research

Research with neutrons is a key technology for many areas of science, including magnetic data storage systems for tomorrow’s computer technology, thermoelectric energy technologies for the future generation of electricity from waste heat, nanoreinforced polymer materials for lighter cars, biological processes and proteins for improved medications. All these fields profit from findings from materials and samples that can only be obtained by means of neutrons.

Basic Principles of Neutron Research

Neutrons are the electrically neutral building blocks of atomic nuclei. They are generated through nuclear fission or spallation, and in special devices referred to as diffractometers and spectrometers, neutrons are guided onto the samples to be investigated. These neutron beams “bounce off” the atoms and molecules of the samples and in doing so they may change their direction and speed. The nature of this “scattering” provides information about the arrangement and motion of the atoms in the sample, which cannot be visualized by complementary methods such as X-rays or electron microscopes. more informationen on spallation: Basic Principles of Neutron Research …
MARIA - Magnetic Reflectometer with high Incident Angle am FRM II in Garching

Focused Activities Throughout the World

Forschungszentrum Jülich is focusing its expertise in neutron research at the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) and maintains outstations at Germany’s most powerful neutron source, FRM II, in Garching near Munich, as well as at the very high flux reactor in Grenoble, France, and at the world’s strongest spallation neutron source, SNS at Oak Ridge, USA.

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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.

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European Spallation Source (ESS)

The world’s most modern neutron source will start operations in 2019 in Lund, a city in southern Sweden. The European Spallation Source ESS will permit unique research to be performed.

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