SNS accumulator ring
DOE's Spallation Neutron Source, located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has passed another milestone on the way to completion this year—the commissioning of the proton accumulator ring, which was designed and built at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Five Office of Science laboratories—Argonne, Berkeley, Brookhaven, Jefferson and Los Alamos—participated with Oak Ridge in the design of the SNS project, which will produce the world's most intense neutron beams to probe the molecular structures of materials. As a user facility, the SNS is expected to attract researchers from all over the globe.
"The ring is the last major accelerator element delivered by one of the partner labs in the six-laboratory project," said SNS Director Thom Mason. "Its successful operation confirms not just the robustness of the Brookhaven Lab components but also the full integration of accelerator hardware designed and built using expertise throughout the national DOE complex. We are looking forward to the first beam on target later this year."
The accumulator ring is the final step in a proton's journey through the accelerator before it strikes the SNS's mercury target, "spalling" away neutrons to be used for research. The Brookhaven-led accumulator ring design will allow an order of magnitude more beam power than any other facility in the world.
In SNS operation, the superconducting linac produces proton pulses traveling at almost 90 percent of the speed of light. In the ring, the protons within a pulse are "accumulated" to increase the intensity 1,000-fold. At that point, this now very intense pulse is extracted and delivered to the mercury target to produce neutrons. This happens 60 times per second.
During its recent commissioning, after only three days of initial operation, the ring accumulated protons, which were then extracted and sent to a point just short of the target.
"The successful commissioning of the accumulator ring—in record time for this type of device—is a testament to the extraordinary collaboration between Brookhaven and Oak Ridge," said Jie Wei, who led the Brookhaven team.
The SNS will become the world's leading research facility for study of the structure and dynamics of materials using neutrons, with many potential future applications in telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation, information technology, biotechnology, and health.
Submitted by DOE's
Brookhaven National Laboratory