Neutron instrument VSANS will move to Penn State University, USA

The VSANS instrument (here in the neutron hall at BER II) will move to Penn State University.

The VSANS instrument (here in the neutron hall at BER II) will move to Penn State University. © A. Kubatzki/HZB

At the end of 2019, the Berlin neutron source BER II was shut down as scheduled. To ensure that the high-quality instruments can continue to be used for research, they are moving to suitable neutron sources in Germany and abroad. Now, another move has been agreed upon: The Very Small Angle Scattering Instrument (VSANS) will find a new home at the Breazeale Research Reactor at Penn State University, USA, in spring 2022.

At Penn State University, the Radiation Science & Engineering Center (RSEC) operates the Breazeale reactor, which produces neutrons for research. An expansion is now planned there to accommodate the new, very large VSANS instrument.

VSANS stands for Very Small-Angle Neutron Scattering, i.e. the scattering of neutrons at very small scattering angles. This method enables insights into colloidal systems and soft matter, but also into glasses, biomimetic structural proteins, microemulsions, flexible electronics and many other questions, from physics to biology.

"Our goal is that our excellent instruments will continue to be available for research and innovation after BER II is shut down. We are therefore very pleased that the VSANS is being reinstalled at the Breazeale reactor", says Roland Steitz, HZB.  This means that the HZB experts have now found a new location for almost all neutron instruments.

"The Breazeale reactor at the Penn State RSEC will be the only university research reactor with a SANS facility in the United States," says Kenan Ünlü, director of the RSEC and professor of nuclear engineering.