3D view: the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source SINQ

The SINQ facility generates around 100 trillion neutrons per square centimetre per second (1014 n/cm2/s). The neutrons are produced when the beam of fast protons delivered by the high intensity proton accelerator (HIPA) strikes a block of lead. This is well protected within a 14-metre high structure of concrete blocks, the Target. The neutrons released are directed to the various experimental stations via neutron guides – specialised glass conduits tailored to different research purposes. Some experiments involve non-destructive imaging of objects that X-ray light cannot penetrate. Others utilise the magnetic moment of neutrons so that each neutron behaves like a minute compass needle. This method can be used to identify material properties or visualise nanomagnetic structures in specialised samples.

(Graphic: Paul Scherrer Institute/Mahir Dzambegovic)


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