First Neutron Beam for CSNS

2 September 2017

The China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS) has successfully produced its very first neutron beam on 28th August 2017.

This is a milestone for the CSNS project, marking the completion of the main construction and entering into the test operation phase. CSNS is on schedule to be open to domestic and international users by 2018. 

“The idea of building the CSNS in China was first proposed at the Xiangshan Science Conferences in February 2001.” said Profesor Chen Hesheng, the CSNS Project Manager. “We worked with more than 100 organisations all over the country, especially in producing equipment for the accelerator, target and instrument systems. We managed to overcome many technical problems and as a result, our equipment localisation rate is over 96% and many of them have reached the world-advanced level.” 

The CSNS team has spent nearly six years on this project.  In 2014, an Hˉ ion source, the first piece of accelerator equipment, was installed. In July 2017, a proton beam was successfully accelerated to 1.6 GeV in a rapid cycling synchrotron (RCS). On 28 August 2017, the first neutron beam was obtained.

The tungsten target was bombarded with a proton beam, which successfully drove neutrons from the nuclei of the target atoms, indicating that the design, fabrication, installation and commissioning of the accelerator and target station systems were finished with high quality and reliability.

As the world’s fourth pulsed spallation neutron source, CSNS has a wide range of applications in research areas like materials science, life sciences, physics, chemical industry, new energy and so on. It is composed of a linac with a modest but upgradable energy of 80 MeV, a rapid cycling synchrotron (RCS) of the energy at 1.6 GeV, 2 beam lines, a target station with a solid tungsten target, and 3 instruments for the first phase including a General-Purpose Powder Diffractometer (GPPD), a Small-Angle Neutron Scattering instrument (SANS) and a multi-purpose reflectometer (MR). The GPPD is used as a tool to study crystal structure and magnetic structure of materials. The SANS is an important instrument useful for probing structures from around one nanometer to more than 100 nanometers. It has a wide range of applications from studies of polymers to nanoparticles. The MR is for studying the surface and interface structure of materials through analysing the reflected neutrons from the sample.

The Croucher Summer Course on Neutron Scattering is a five-day intensive residential course organised in partnership with City University of Hong Kong.   The course, aimed at postgraduate students and early-career researchers, has been held once ever two years starting in 2014. Widely used scattering techniques in materials research, such as neutron diffraction, small angle neutron scattering and neutron reflectometry were introduced. 

“With CSNS ready to use by 2018, the summer course has allowed us to trained many users in the Hong Kong research community who are now ready to take advantage of this great facility,” said Professor Xun-Li Wang, of City University, a director of the summer course.