Important Milestones Celebrated for the Neutron Instrument NEAT II

The topping-out ceremony and relaying of the foundation
stone for the NEAT building were celebrated at the beginning
of December

Participants of the Terahertz Workshop

Around 100 guests attended the NEAT building’s topping-out ceremony / The experimental capabilities at NEAT II were discussed among other topics at the Workshop on Neutron Spectroscopy in the Terahertz Range

Barely four months after excavating the pit, the topping-out ceremony for the NEAT II building in Wannsee was celebrated. This extension of the neutron guide hall will house the detectors for the new flight time spectrometer. It should be completed by the end of March 2012. Construction of the building is costing one million euros.

Around one hundred internal and external guests came to the topping-out ceremony, as well as the architect, site managers and tradesmen. After the welcome and acknowledgement of the construction firms involved by commercial director Ulrich Breuer, no time was lost in moving on to the topping out: As tradition demands, the tradesmen placed a crown on the building. At the same time, the setting of the foundation stone was “revisited”:  Various paraphernalia – such as newspaper articles and a NEAT sample holder – were stowed in a gap beneath the foundation stone and left to posterity.

The time of the ceremony was cleverly chosen to allow the scientists who had come from many countries to attend the User Meeting and Terahertz Workshop at HZB to experience this important milestone in the NEAT project in person. Scientific project manager Dr. Margarita Russina felt this was especially important, for it is precisely these researchers who will be using the new flight time spectrometer in future.

Construction of the NEAT II instrument is an important future project of HZB, which will create worldwide unique experimentation opportunities at the neutron source BER II – in particular in conjunction with high magnetic fields. Compared to the old instrument, it will have a considerably higher neutron flow. For one thing, components such as the supermirror-coated neutron guides will work more efficiently. For another, the new instrument will benefit from the upgrade of BER II. The newly built instrument shall go into trial operation in 2014. Starting in 2014, all users will then be able to apply for measurement time.

NEAT II shall open up new research fields in magnetism, materials sciences and soft materials. Which scientific applications the new flight time spectrometer will offer users was also an important topic at the simultaneously held Workshop on Terahertz Neutron Spectroscopy. This event, organized by HZB together with the European Spallation Source ESS, brought numerous researchers from 13 countries to Berlin. In the heavily-attended lectures, the speakers spoke about instrumentation and results based on neutron experiments following the flight time principle. What is unique is that researchers can measure the atomic structure and dynamics within a sample using a single method, and thereby obtain unique information. Flight time spectroscopy delivers the best results in the terahertz range between 10 μeV and 150 meV and at a wavelength of 0.5 to 100 ångströms.

The workshop dealt with developing new applications for flight time spectroscopy and defining the core research topics to be studied in future – including regarding the European Spallation Source. At ESS, which is to be built in Sweden starting in 2013, experiments based on the flight time principle will play an important role. The instrumentation at ESS must now be accordingly tailored to these issues. “The event brought experienced neutron researchers and junior scientists together. They all showed great interest in neutron spectroscopy and our new NEAT II in particular,” Dr. Margarita Russina emphasized.

Silvia Zerbe