Neutron Materials Characterization
IFE currently possesses the only reactor (JEEP II) in northern Europe that offers neutron beams for research. We have recently established a national research infrastructure, NcNeutron, with a range of unique research tools for materials science. Our aim is to answer important questions related to energy, health- and environmental challenges using “the largest microscope” in Norway.
In Norway we have been carrying out neutron-based research for many decades, and IFE is internationally recognized for solid competence and a number of groundbreaking results. The facilities associated with the JEEP II reactor at Kjeller were in 2016 awarded the status as a national research infrastructure for neutron research, NcNeutron. NcNeutron has been established in partnership with several Norwegian institutions; University of Oslo, University of Stavanger, SINTEF and NTNU.
Through many years of research with neutrons, IFE has acquired knowledge that has given us an important role in advanced materials research, such as on hydrogen storage, batteries and magnetic materials. This makes us particularly suited to collaborate with some of the foremost research groups in the world.
«The world’s largest microscope»
One of the largest investments in European research infrastructure is taking place right now with the construction of the European Spallation Source (ESS). This is built in Lund in Sweden and will be revolutionary for the development and understanding of new materials relevant to nearly all fields of materials science, including biology and medicine.
The facility costs at least NOK 20 billion, of which Norway has agreed to finance at least NOK 500 million. The plant in Lund will be the world’s biggest neutron “microscope”. When finished one will for example be able to obtain much better pictures of the proteins around viruses that cause serious illnesses in humans, something that is essential for developing targeted treatment.
NcNeutron and the JEEP II reactor are crucial for the future Norwegian use of the ESS, but will also be important to others who need to test their projects on a “small scale” before accessing the much larger and more costly research lab in Lund. An initial experiment at NcNeutron will ensure an efficient utilization of ESS as well as the quality of the results obtained.
There is considerable interest in the neutron-based research we carry out at IFE, as judged by the interest from our collaborators from academia and private industry in Norway, in Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Germany, Japan and Australia, USA, Canada and Brazil to name a few.