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 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.
SINQ call for proposals open
After the completion of the major upgrade program of its neutron guide system SINQ resumed operation in early August 2020. The call for proposals I-21 for the period May-August 2021 is now open until November 15, 2020.
Latest scientific SINQ highlights:
In the three-dimensional (3D) Heisenberg model, topological point defects known as spin hedgehogs behave as emergent magnetic monopoles, i.e., quantized sources and sinks of gauge fields that couple strongly to conduction electrons, and cause unconventional transport responses such as the gigantic Hall effect. We observe a dramatic change in the Hall effect upon the transformation of a spin hedgehog crystal in a chiral magnet MnGe through combined measurements of magnetotransport and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS).
Magnetic skyrmions are topological solitons with a nanoscale winding spin texture that hold promise for spintronics applications. Skyrmions have so far been observed in a variety of magnets that exhibit nearly parallel alignment for neighbouring spins, but theoretically skyrmions with anti-parallel neighbouring spins are also possible. Such antiferromagnetic skyrmions may allow more flexible control than conventional ferromagnetic skyrmions. Here, by combining neutron scattering measurements and Monte Carlo simulations, we show that a fractional antiferromagnetic skyrmion lattice is stabilized in MnSc2S4 through anisotropic couplings.
One-pot neutron imaging of surface phenomena, swelling and diffusion during methane absorption in ethanol and n-decane under high pressure
We study the gas diffusion in still liquids under gas high pressures. We demonstrate that the pressure-induced gas diffusion, liquid swelling and the liquid surface tension can be measured simultaneously in a one-pot experiment. The measurements are performed using the high-resolution neutron imaging in a non-tactile way. A major advantage of this new method is that the determination of surface tension necessitate no assumptions imposed on the properties of the liquid.
More SINQ highlights can be found on the Webpages of the NUM Division.