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The Upgrade of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL)

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New horizons for neutron research

An upgrade of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in France includes plans for newly constructed premises and renovation of existing buildings. The site will house improved instrumentation for the neutron user community and promises to deliver the ultimate in neutron research facilities.

Industrial Technologies

The ILL in France is one of the world's most advanced centres for research based on neutrons and has served Europe since 1967 in its quest for scientific excellence. The EU-funded project 'The upgrade of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL)' (ILL20/20) is maintaining the centre's primacy by outlining its infrastructure needs, facilitating access and optimising its use. Such an ambitious upgrade will bring with it many improvements including preparation of high-intensity ultra-cold neutron (UCN) beams, construction of the cryostat and ultra-cold neutron extraction. UCNs are used as a tool to determine properties of the neutron and an increasing number of industrial applications including imaging techniques. ILL20/20 will also encourage joint science projects and enhance knowledge transfer. New science partnerships will attract new users to the centre, with a focus on soft matter, extreme sample conditions and materials science. By 2014, the project plans to develop new world-class concepts for neutron guide systems, neutron scattering instruments, white beam analysis, bunching of neutron beams and gas detection. Technical achievements will include development of high-density ultra-cold neutron source prototypes and an enhanced crystal monochromator. As regards hot neutron technology, the scientists focused on the improvement of optical components made from single diamond crystals. ILL(20/20) successfully produced sufficiently thick diamond crystals to show that a composite diamond crystal will increase the flux sufficiently for hot neutron instrumentation. The new equipment, infrastructure and protocols being established by the project will help ensure that the centre is one of the most important neutron science facilities worldwide. This represents an important step in advancing the European Research Area (ERA) so scientists can engage in new areas of discovery to deliver cutting edge solutions for society's advancing needs and requirements.

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