Recent News


  • 3He polarizer used on SESAME for the first time 16 Sept., 2012:
  • Over the past several years, Mike Snow’s group has been developing 3He-based neutron polarizers in collaboration with researches at NIST and Hamilton College. One of their most recent activities has been the development of a system that can optically pump and maintain the necessary 3He polarization in-situ on a beam line, and this device was just recently installed on the SESAME instrument at LENS. 3He polarizations of up to 70% have been demonstrated with this configuration, and experiments on nano-porous anodized alumina and silica nanospheres.

  • New vertical Device Under Test assembly installed at NREF: March 2012
  • A new Device Under Test (DUT) holder was installed in TMR1 for the Neutron Radiation Effect Facility (NREF). This new DUT holder allows parts 4 inch by 9 inch by 18 inch to be easily installed without removing major shielding. Also this holder allows the moderating material (up to 2 inches of polyethelene ) to be easily removed facilitating changing from a MeV neutron spectrum to a thermal neutron spectrum. Please see the NREF web site for details

  • LENS commissions third beam line: the Moderator Imaging Station. 2 July 2012
  • Working in collaboration with researchers from the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Lab, researchers at LENS recently installed a new instrument on NBL3 on the LENS cold neutron source. This instrument is to be used primarily for imaging test moderators during neutronics experiments, as it provides a slit imaging system which can provide information on the positional or angular dependence of the moderator spectrum). This is initially being employed for studies of the novel convoluted moderator concept. It is anticipated that in the future the instrument will also be used for pin-hole imaging of moderators and for the evaluation of novel neutron detector technologies.

  • aCORN experiment installed at NIST starting in December 2009
  • An experiment to measure small asymmetries in neutron beta decay (the so-called “little-a” parameter) started collecting data at the NIST Center for Neutron Research in February 2013. Initial construction and testing of the main magnetic field components of this experiment, which involves measuring correlations between the momenta of the proton and electron that result from neutron decay, was carried out at CEEM from 2005 through 2011.  Upon completion of these tests, further modifications were made to improve the performance of the silicon detector system and the proton acceleration stage. Testing of the improved system with beam started in the summer of 2012 with full data running in 2013.  In addition to this logistical support from CEEM, important information on neutron scattering from the  aluminum windows in the detector was obtained through experiments performed on the SANS instrument at LENS.

  • LENS group hosts Second Meeting of the Union for Compact Accelerator-driven Neutron Sources (UCANS-II)
    July 8, 2011

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  • IU Physics Facility Awarded $5 Million for Cooperative Neutron Research
    August 26, 2010

    LENS has received a $5 million grant from the National Institute for Standards and Technology. The NIST grant provides close to $1 million a year for five years to support cooperative research activities between the Low Energy Neutron Source (LENS) at IU Bloomington and NIST's National Center for Neutron Research, located in Gaithersburg, MD.
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    Read the Full IDS article here.

  • IU Announces Cooperation Agreement between LENS and Tsinghua University
    September 11, 2009

    The Office of the Vice President for International Affairs at Indiana University has announced "an Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation between Tsinghua University and Indiana University," starting on July 31, 2009, for two years.
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    By Moya Wright
    September 11, 2009

          The Office of the Vice President for International Affairs at Indiana University has announced "an Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation between Tsinghua University and Indiana University," starting on July 31, 2009, for two years. The Low-Energy Neutron Source (LENS) and the Advanced Electron Photon Accelerator (ALPHA) at Indiana University and the Hadron Application and Technology Center (HATC) at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, plan to cooperate in order to advance mutual interests in the development of compact neutron and photon sources. Prof. Paul Sokol is the point of contact for IU and Prof. Jei Wei is the point of contact for Tsinghua. The agreement will allow the exchange of graduate students, postdocs and faculty. In addition, summer schools for graduate students will be held yearly with the location alternating between Bloomington and Beijing. The first school is planned for summer 2010 at LENS.
          Prof. Paul Sokol and Prof. Dave Baxter of IUCF’s LENS group traveled to Beijing in June 2009 to speak at a workshop on Compact Pulsed Hadron Sources (CPHS09), and to discuss cooperation between the two universities. Dr Chun Loong and Dr Zhiyu Guo of Tsinghua University paid reciprocal visits to IUCF in the summer.
          The cooperative agreement with Tsinghua is part of continuing research, educational and outreach programs of the LENS and ALPHA faculty. The LENS faculty currently support five graduate students and three post doctoral fellows in neutron scattering projects utilizing the Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) instrument and the polarized neutron Relectometer (SESAME). This summer the LENS group also mentored several undergraduate students in research projects through the Physics Department Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. The ALPHA faculty currently support six graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow with research interest in advanced accelerator design and Inverse Compton Scattering.

  • SESAME measures first neutrons
    May 4, 2009

    The newest LENS beamline, dubbed SESAME (Spin Echo Scattering Angle Measurement), measured its first neutrons on April 21, 2009.
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    By Paul Stonaha
    May 4, 2009

    Pictured here is a cartoon of neutrons scattering off a biological membrane.
    Pictured here is a cartoon of neutrons scattering off a biological membrane.

          The newest LENS beamline, dubbed SESAME (Spin Echo Scattering Angle Measurement), measured its first neutrons on April 21, 2009. Started in the summer of 2006, this beamline has been the vision of IU professor Roger Pynn at IUCF. SESAME will use polarized neutrons to probe in-plane correlations on solid and liquid samples. The process relies upon precise magnetic fields to encode the scattering angle of neutrons into the final polarization of the beam. A 3He analyzer that is currently being designed and built by Dr. Mike Snow, also of IUCF, will be used as a polarizer filter for SESAME.

          Several experiments at national labs over the past three years have provided proof-of-principle results for SESAME. The most recent experiments were performed at the NIST Center for Neutron Research and the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, in which neutron reflectivity was carried out on a nanopatterned silicon stamp. The results have been confirmed through theoretical calculations, and provide a basis for analysis of future experiments on more complicated structures, such as biomembranes and block copolymers.

          SESAME is a neutron scattering technique for probing nanometer-to micron-scale correlations of planer structure of a material. Pictured above is a cartoon of neutrons scattering off a biological membrane. SESAME will provide scientists with a method to ensure a high degree of in-plane uniformity in nanoscale materials.



  • Completion of LENS
    October 27, 2008
    The Low Energy Neutron Source (LENS) at IUCF reached two major milestones recently.
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    By Dr. Paul Sokol
    October 27, 2008

          The Low Energy Neutron Source (LENS) at IUCF reached two major milestones recently. The first milestone is the completion of the accelerator (currently a proton beam of 2.6 kW delivered on target) and ramping up to full power. The second major milestone is the completion of the Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) Instrument and entering regular operation for scientific studies.
          Over the summer Tom Rinckel (Associate Director for Operations), assisted by the IUCF staff, completed the installation of a 100 KV 5 A power supply for the Klystrons. Installation of this power supply, which was obtained from Los Alamos, will allow us to reach full power operation (12 KW). This was the last major construction task for the neutron source; accelerator, proton beam transport lines and target moderator reflector (TMR) assemblies are now complete. The installation of the new power supply allowed us to move past the 1 KW limit enforced by the old 1 A supply. We are continuing to ramp up the power and expect to reach 6 KW on target by the end of the calendar year and full power by summer of 2009.
          During the same period the SANS instrument, under the guidance of Helmut Kaiser (Associate Director for User Science), began scientific operation. SANS is the first instrument to become operational at LENS. First scientific studies are focused on examining the effects of nano-scale confinement on model glass forming liquids. Future scientific studies will include the investigation of the structure of phospholipid/ethanol/cholesterol mixtures, fuel cell membranes and polarizer studies. The first LENS Workshop for potential users will be held on December 5, 2008. For more information about the Workshop contact Dr. Helmut Kaiser.
          The LENS program at IUCF was started in 2003 with a three-fold mission: to conduct materials research with neutrons, develop new neutron instrumentation for both fundamental and applied research, and to enhance education in the science and technology of neutrons at all levels. The source utilizes a low energy p-n reaction in Beryllium coupled with a high-current, variable-pulse-width proton accelerator to produce either short or long neutron pulses. LENS produced its first cold neutron beam in April 2005 and its first klystron-powered beam in December 2006.

  • LENS reaches target of 13MeV
    The Low Energy Neutron Source at IUCF achieved its ultimate beam operating energy target in the early hours of Monday, March 31 when 13 MeV protons were successfully accelerated through the new Drift Tube Linac section.
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    LENS klystron-powered proton beam viewed on a fluorescent screen.
    LENS klystron-powered proton beam viewed on a fluorescent screen.

         The Low Energy Neutron Source at IUCF achieved its ultimate beam operating energy target in the early hours of Monday, March 31 when 13 MeV protons were successfully accelerated through the new Drift Tube Linac section. A 13 MeV beam was delivered at 23 mA peak current at 3 am on March 31 to TMR2 (the LENS target). The energy of the beam was verified using the bending magnets in the beam line. The LENS project has now demonstrated operation at its ultimate design energy – and achieved this on the target date of March 31.
         The LENS program at IUCF was started in 2003 with a three-fold mission: to conduct materials research with neutrons, develop new neutron instrumentation for both fundamental and applied research, and to enhance education in the science and technology of neutrons at all levels. LENS produced its first cold neutron beam in April 2005, and its first klystron-powered beam in December 2006. The schedule for reaching LENS’ ultimate energy by March 31, 2008, was an aggressive one and it would not have happened without the hard work and dedication of the many people working on LENS. Several last minute mission snafus created an exciting climax to this effort, but the excellent technical staff at IUCF proved to be up to the challenge. On Friday March 28, almost simultaneously with passing the safety readiness review, Klystron 3 failed. After a herculean effort to identify and repair the klystron it finally came back into operation late Sunday evening and beam followed quickly in the early hours of Monday, March 31.



  • LENS produces first 1kW proton beam
    The Low Energy Neutron Source (LENS) program at IUCF reached an important milestone on October 16, 2007, when the LENS source delivered protons to the target at a power level of 1kW for the first time.
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    The new 6 MeV Drift Tube Linac will increase the LENS incident proton energy to 13MeV.
    The new 6 MeV Drift Tube Linac will increase the LENS incident proton energy to 13MeV.

          The Low Energy Neutron Source (LENS) program at IUCF reached an important milestone on October 16, 2007, when the LENS source delivered protons to the target at a power level of 1kW for the first time. LENS has been operating at relatively low power for the past three years to facilitate instrument development while the accelerator at the heart of the source has undergone several improvements. At the 1kW power level, initial experiments with the Small Angle Scattering Instrument now become feasible.

          On 19 Oct. 2007, the 6 MeV Drift Tube Linac that will allow LENS to operate at a proton energy of 13MeV arrived at IUCF. The DTL was manufactured by ACCSYS, the company who also manufactured the existing 7MeV linac that LENS has been using for the past three years. The two accelerators will be joined together over the month of November in preparation for initial running at 13MeV before the end of the year.

          A klystron-powered proton beam was first produced by the LENS accelerator in December, 2006. Since that time, the LENS accelerator has been running with RF power produced by two klystrons, one powering each of the two sections of the 7MeV accelerator. On October 17, 2007, the LENS project took delivery of several components from Los Alamos National labs that will be used to install a third klystron amplifier. This third klystron will be needed to run the new DTL section.

          Even at the lower power levels available over the last three years, the facility has already been used for investigations of neutron moderator design, neutron instrumentation development, and preliminary testing of neutron radiation effects in electronics. The increase in the available power of the source to 13MeV will now make neutron scattering experiments investigating the large-scale structure of various materials possible.



  • LENS produces first klystron-powered proton beam
    December 20, 2006
    A klystron-powered proton beam was produced by IUCF’s Low Energy Neutron Source (LENS) accelerator for the first time on December 20, 2006.
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    By David Baxter
    December 21, 2006

    LENS first klystron-powered proton beam viewed on a fluorescent screen.
    LENS first klystron-powered proton beam viewed on a fluorescent screen.

    LENS is a neutron scattering facility with a three-fold mission: to conduct materials research with neutrons, develop new neutron instrumentation for both fundamental and applied research, and to enhance education in the science and technology of neutrons at all levels. Even at the low power levels available over the last two years, the facility has already been used for investigations of neutron moderator design, neutron instrumentation development, and preliminary testing of neutron radiation effects in electronics. The increase in the available power of the source afforded by the klystrons, along with the installation of a new target station and updated Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) instrument (scheduled to be completed this spring), will allow neutron scattering experiments investigating the large-scale structure of various materials to commence.



  • LENS Facility Runs for Approximately One Week
    March 1, 2006

    The LENS facility ran for approximately one week at the end of March.
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    By Mark Leuschner
    March 1, 2006

          The LENS facility ran for approximately one week at the end of March. The methane moderator ran without problems at a temperature of 3.6 Kelvin. Several foils were activated to study the flux from the moderator. The first measurement of the emission time spectrum was made at an energy of 2.7 meV. A preliminary effort was made to run a composite argon-methane moderator. To conclude the run, the passive safety features of the moderator gas handling system were (successfully) demonstrated when power to the facility was lost overnight due to a storm.