Neutron Materials Characterization
At IFE, we have the leading research activity in neutron-based materials characterization in Norway and one of the leading in Europe. Our goal is to find answers that help to achieve the UN's sustainability goals and to solve environmental challenges in accessing and using clean energy and health challenges in the world.
In Norway, we have been working with neutron research for many decades. In 2016, the instruments connected to the JEEP II reactor at Kjeller were recognized as the national research infrastructure for neutron research through the establishment of the NcNeutron Research Centre, the Norwegian Centre for Neutron Research, and are internationally recognized for solid expertise and several ground-breaking results. NcNeutron is established in partnership with several Norwegian institutions; University of Oslo, University of Stavanger, SINTEF and NTNU.
The JEEP II reactor was decided to shut down in 2019, and we are currently working on solutions to establish key parts of the instrumentation in NcNeutron at another European neutron sources. As part of this process, there is ongoing dialogue with other European research communities about closer collaboration, so that we can retain and build on the expertise we have developed over nearly 70 years of research.
Through this research, IFE has acquired knowledge that has positioned us in the research frontline especially in advanced materials related to hydrogen, batteries and magnets. This makes us particularly suited to collaborate with some of the leading research communities in the world.
“World’s Largest Microscope”
One of the biggest investments in Europe in research is just now happening with the construction of the European Spallation Source (ESS), the “neutron cannon in Sweden”. This is being built in Lund and will be revolutionary for the development and understanding of new materials.
The plant costs at least NOK 20 billion, of which Norway has committed to finance at least NOK 500 million. The facility in Lund will be “the world’s largest microscope”. When completed, we can expect to gain a much better understanding of the proteins around viruses that cause serious human illnesses, which are crucial for developing targeted treatment, and materials to store energy in batteries and in hydrogen systems. The competence environment we have at IFE is crucial for Norwegian future use of ESS. IFE participates as a central European partner in the development and construction of 2 of the 15 advanced instruments, BIFROST and HEIMDAL, at ESS.
The interest in neutron research we conduct at IFE is great, as we see among our partners from academia and private business here at home, in Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia, USA, Canada and Brazil to name a few.