The Norwegian Center for Neutron Research, NcNeutron, is a neutron science and technology exchange center in Norway. It will be important for use of neutron-based methods for Norwegian researchers and for future Norwegian use of the European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund, Sweden. The JEEP II reactor at IFE was permanently shutdown in April 2019, and then in order to complete NcNeutron and to give Norwegian researchers access to neutron-based methods, it was decided to work to obtain an agreement with an European neutron source. It become clear that the best choice would to work on an agreement with the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland for a Norwegian access to their neutron source SINQ. This effort was approved by the Research Council of Norway. The agreement between PSI and IFE applies from 1. May 2021 and with a duration of 6 years. It gives Norwegian neutron-users annual access to ca 50 days of beamtime with the instrumentation at SINQ. There are two rounds of beamtime allocations every year for Norwegian experiments at SINQ via NcNeutron. For the two first rounds of applications in 2021, it has been many Norwegian beamtime-proposals, and with a significant oversubscription.
The Norwegian Center for Neutron Research, NcNeutron, was planned to be a neutron science and technology exchange center associated with the JEEP II research reactor at IFE, but with the permanent shutdown of JEEP II in Spring 2018, the NcNeutron investments and activities will via an agreement with PSI in Switzerland be transferred to NcNeutron@PSI. Its vision is to become an internationally renowned center for neutron-based research applied to materials science and technology. NcNeutron will serve as a knowledge-base for Norwegian researchers using neutrons, and it will include access to the state-of-the-art instrumentation at PSI.
The construction of the European Spallation Source (ESS) has started in Lund, Sweden, and the NcNeutron infrastructure will: (i) support Norway's participation in the ESS by education in the use of neutrons and by providing a network node for scientific interaction and collaboration; and (ii) play a key role as a regional neutron scattering and imaging center also when the ESS is in operation. NcNeutron will be strongly complementary to the recently established national research infrastructures RECX and NORTEM, and thus give Norwegian researchers in materials science and nanotechnology a significant advantage.
The NcNeutron@PSI includes:
- Contribute to upgrade 2 of the instruments at SINQ, PSI: an neutron imaging instrument and a residual stress instrument
- Transfer several components that was purchased at IFE before the JEEP II shutdown to PSI
- A post doc staying at PSI and funded by IFE
The investments at PSI will give access to 35% of one instrument, that can be used on the full instrument suit at SINQ, in practice approximately 50 days of beamtime over a period of 6 years.
The national partners are IFE, UiO, UiS, SINTEF and with a strong support from NTNU. Relevant Norwegian industry and main European neutron facilities, ESS, ILL and PSI, express strong support to the research infrastructure.