SINQ: The Swiss Spallation Neutron Source
Neutron scattering is one of the most effective ways to obtain information on both, the structure and the dynamics of condensed matter. A wide scope of problems, ranging from fundamental to solid state physics and chemistry, and from materials science to biology, medicine and environmental science, can be investigated with neutrons. Aside from the scattering techniques, non-diffractive methods like imaging techniques can also be applied with increasing relevance for industrial applications.
The spallation neutron source SINQ is a continuous source - the first and only one of its kind in the world - with a flux of about 1014 n/cm2/s. Beside thermal neutrons, a cold moderator of liquid deuterium (cold source) slows neutrons down and shifts their spectrum to lower energies. These neutrons have proved to be particularly valuable in materials research and in the investigation of biological substances. SINQ is a user facility. Interested groups can apply for beamtime on the various instruments by using the SINQ proposal system.
The results of the recent call for proposals (II-22, deadline: May 15, 2022) have been sent to the users on July 11. The next proposal deadline is planned for November 15, 2022.
Recent news and scientific highlights:
Topological magnon insulators constitute a growing field of research for their potential use as information carriers without heat dissipation. We report an experimental and theoretical study of the magnetic ground-state and excitations in the van der Waals two-dimensional honeycomb magnet ErBr3. We show that the magnetic properties of this compound are entirely governed by the dipolar interactions which generate a continuously degenerate non-collinear ground-state on the honeycomb lattice with spins confined in the plane.
The shutdown of the Orphée reactor at LLB (Saclay, France) and the upgrade of the SINQ neutron guide system at PSI (Villigen, Switzerland) in 2019 were the beginning of a long-term collaboration between PSI and LLB. The SANS-LLB instrument, formerly known as PA20, has travelled more than 500 km, and since 2020 is being installed at SINQ/PSI as a collaborative effort between PSI and LLB. The aim is to make a modern SANS instrument available to the soft matter neutron scattering community at the SINQ spallation source.
Magnetic topological phases of quantum matter are an emerging frontier in physics and materials science, of which kagome magnets appear as a highly promising platform. Here, we explore magnetic correlations in the recently identified topological kagome system TbMn6Sn6 using muon spin rotation, combined with local field analysis and neutron diffraction. Our studies identify an out-of-plane ferrimagnetic structure with slow magnetic fluctuations which exhibit a critical slowing down below T*C1 ≃ 120 K and finally freeze into static patches with ideal out-of-plane order below TC1 ≃ 20 K....
Just as electrons flow through an electrical conductor, magnetic excitations can travel through certain materials. Such excitations, known in physics as "magnons" in analogy to the electron, could transport information much more easily than electrical conductors. An international research team has now made an important discovery on the way towards such components, which could be highly energy-efficient and considerably smaller.
More SINQ highlights can be found on the Webpages of the NUM Division.