The ESS Instrument Suite is Taking Shape


The May meeting of the ESS Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) was a critical step for the facility.

Source: ESS website

Source: ESS website

During three intense days, the SAC reviewed 14 neutron instrument concepts, proposed by teams from around Europe to be built at ESS. The instruments included in the ESS suite will provide the user community with unique tools for science – and the composition of the instrument suite defines the scientific capabilities of ESS for a long time to come. Nine of the proposed instruments were recommended to advance to the phase of preliminary engineering design, joining the three instruments that were selected in last year's round. The final decision will be made by the Steering Committee in September.

“One can already now foresee that some of the instruments have the potential to be truly transformative for neutron scattering”, says Prof. Aleksandar Matic, SAC Chair.

The science cases presented by the instrument teams covered a lot of ground including solar cell and battery technologies, geological phenomena, complex biological interactions and the mysteries of magnetism and superconductivity. These visions were expertly coupled to projected instrument performance and sample environment equipment, enabled by a combination of new technology and the unique characteristics of the ESS neutron pulse. The expected user demand was discussed for each instrument, as were technical challenges and estimated performance gains. Those gains may be as high as three orders of magnitude for some instruments.

The future users of ESS are deeply involved in defining the suite of 22 ESS instruments: groups in all the partner countries are invited to develop instrument concepts, which are then reviewed by external advisory bodies with expertise from all around the world. This process culminates in the SAC recommendation. ESS management uses this recommendation to prepare a proposal for the ESS Steering Committee, who decide which instrument concepts move into Phase 1: Preliminary Engineering Design.

The first round of instrument proposals was held in 2012-2013, and resulted in three instruments being incorporated into the engineering design phase. The current round saw many more proposals from the partner countries, and the SAC recommend that nine of these move forward. If the recommendation is followed, 12 of the first 16 instruments are now defined. The next round will be held in 2015 or 2016, and will finalize the definition of the first 16 slots.

“We need the competence and experience of all our partners, in order to realize the next-generation neutron source for science,” says Prof. Dimitri Argyriou, ESS Director for Science. “The wide engagement in the instrument selection process is an indication of the strong commitment to and need for ESS in the European scientific community.”

The teams with instruments not recommended at this stage may resubmit a revised proposal in the next round, or join one of the teams whose instrument moves ahead. In many cases the capabilities of one instrument concept can be realized by adjusting the specifications of another, thus expanding the scientific scope. There is also room for professionals not currently involved in the ESS instrument program to join. There are several instrument slots open, and ESS is establishing instrument consortia to bring the selected instruments to realisation. These consortia can be broader than the proposing team.

Instruments recommended by the SAC in 2014 to enter Phase 1

SKADI SANS. Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, DE; Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, FR; Delft University of Technology, NL.

FREIA reflectomer. ESS; University of Copenhagen, DK, Technical University of Denmark, DK.

ESTIA reflectometer. Paul Scherrer Institute, CH; University of Copenhagen, DK; University of Southern Denmark, DK.

CAMEA spectrometer. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH; University of Copenhagen, DK; Technical University of Denmark, DK; Paul Scherrer Institute, CH.

VOR chopper spectrometer. ESS; Technical University of Denmark, DK.

C-SPEC cold chopper spectrometer. Technische Universität München, DE; Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, FR.

DREAM powder diffractometer. Jülich Centre for Neutron Science, DE; ESS; Aachen University, DE; Stockholm University, SE; Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, NL; Max-Planck Institute für Festkörperforschung, DE; University of Liege, BE.

HEIMDAL powder diffractometer. University of Aarhus, DK; University of Copenhagen, DK; Paul Scherrer Institute, CH; Technical University of Denmark, DK.

BEER engineering diffractometer. Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, DE; Nuclear Physics Institute, CZ; Institute of Physics, CZ; Technical University of Clausthal, DE.

Instruments already in Phase 1: Preliminary Engineering Design

LoKI SANS. ESS; Lund University, SE; Uppsala University, SE; University of Copenhagen, DK; Paul Scherrer Institute, CH.

NMX macromolecular diffractometer. ESS; Institut de Biologie Structurale, FR; University of Aarhus, DK.

ODIN imaging. ESS; University of Copenhagen, DK; Technische Universität München, DE; Paul Scherrer Institute, CH; Delft University of Technology, NL.

Learn more about the instruments currently in Phase 1.

Information on how to propose an instrument and the process for instrument selection, including the members of the advisory bodies, can be found here.

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