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The Upgrade of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL)

Periodic Report Summary - ILL20/20 (The Upgrade of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL))

Project context and objectives:

Summary description of project context and objectives

Context: The ILL 20/20 project, part of the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL)'s wide-ranging, Millennium Programme, contributes to the preparatory phase of planning for the overall upgrade of the institute. The programme addresses the most cost-effective response to users' requirements in both the short and medium term. The project's purpose is to assist this process by:
(a) investigating infrastructure needs; and
(b) examining methods of optimising access and use of the instrument suites at ILL and the site in general.

Aims: The ILL 20/20 Upgrade of the Institut Laue-Langevin preparatory phase project (the 'project') aims:
- to prepare for the upgrade of ILL's neutron science facilities to strengthen its world-leading position and provide for the future scientific needs of users in Europe and beyond;
- to improve the visibility and research capability of the common site occupied by ILL and its sister laboratories, the ESRF and EMBL.

Objectives:
1. To establish and maintain a system for the effective and efficient management of the project.
2. To benchmark specific ILL instruments against instrument performance at emerging spallation neutron sources in the United States and Japan in the context of the assessed future instrument needs of Europe's neutron community, in preparation of the upgrade phase M-2.
3. To prepare for the production of high intensity ultra-cold neutron beams. To begin the fabrication and testing of cryostat, ultra cold neutron extraction and magnet.
4. To plan for renewal of neutron transport systems, designing optimised neutron guide systems and their shielding.
5. To explore and evaluate new concepts in neutron scattering instruments and technology.
6. To expand use of ILL facilities, encourage partnerships for science with other European research institutes, focusing on soft matter, extreme sample conditions, and materials science; and to attract new users for exploiting neutron scattering techniques for the future needs of our society.
7. To develop the site infrastructure considering upgrades to support new installations, to set up protocols for knowledge transfer, and to address financial and legal issues.
8. To plan new buildings and / or extensions undertaking a feasibility study and preparing plans for building works.

Project results:

Instruments: Under the institute's Millennium Programme Phase M-2 ILL has taken strategic decisions towards the maintenance and upgrading of its instrument suite and complementary infrastructure. In April 2011, ILL's scientific council endorsed the instrument review plan (completed March 2011) which sets out an programme to upgrade ILL's instruments and will ensure that all instruments will be world-class (and many world-leading) by2014.

These strategic decisions are underpinned by exhaustive preparatory work including: a detailed benchmarking study of its instrument suite in 2008 - 2009; consultation with internal and external experts to articulate future plans; discussion and prioritisation of these plans with the neutron scattering community at the major 'ILL 2020 Vision Conference' in 2010; and an instrument review calling on independent external advice in 2011.

Work was conducted on the production of high intensity Ultra-cold neutron (UCN) beams, including the completion of the design, testing, and fabrication of an innovative superfluid 4He-UCN source. A second cryostat of the UCN source was developed with the ultimate goal to scale up the UCN production volume. After completion, a beam time was operated and a high UCN production rate was demonstrated at an intense white neutron beam. However, a problem with the cryostat could not be resolved before starting the beam time; thus, the projected base temperature of the converter vessel could not be reached, and the anticipated UCN densities could not be demonstrated prior to completion of this grant.

Planning for the renewal of neutron transport systems was completed 2007 – 2009 including: studies of carbon fibre housing and aluminium housing for the neutron guides; the development and application of new computational tools to optimise shielding through the enhanced performance of the neutron guides; and by the introduction of new radioprotection standards. In 2010, opportunities for the transport of 'hot' and 'thermal' neutron beams with appreciable divergences over large distances, created by advances in super-mirror technologies, were explored. A new design of the mechanics protecting and supporting the neutron guides was developed to save costs by a factor of two whilst halving the installation time. In the same year, studies of modifications upstream of primary casemates to guarantee safety for radiation protection in case of earthquake (in compliance with the requirements of the French Nuclear Safety Authority) were undertaken. Thermal testing and irradiation of different substrates of metallic samples coated by a supermirror, to ascertain their reliability as a technical solution for neutron guides, begun in 2009 continued in 2011. (Complementary testing will continue beyond the project conclusion)

New concepts for hot neutron instrumentation to challenge the brightest pulsed sources, focused on the improvement of optical components made from diamond single crystals for hot-neutron instruments, were studied in partnership with the University of Augsburg, Germany, (2008 - 2010) The feasibility of the technique, which grows diamond crystals by chemical vapour deposition, was demonstrated. In 2011, ILL succeeded in producing sufficiently thick diamond crystals with a well controlled mosaic distribution for the monochromatisation of hot neutrons, and established that a composite diamond crystal system makes it possible to increase the flux substantially, in particular for hot neutrons instrumentation.

Work on new concepts for cold neutron instrumentation activities included testing of various intelligent optimisation algorithms in combination with Monte Carlo simulation and the development of neutron acceptance diagram shading, a new method for calculating guide transport, has been concluded. The new guide system design is working according to specifications and an important gain in flux is predicted for new and existing instruments.

Future pulsed neutron sources set new standards for time–dependent experiments and high time-resolution instruments. The feasibility of methods to produce neutron beams with high frequency modulation in the MHz range through beam-bunching has been evaluated. The experimental proof-of principle of the bunching effect of a radio frequency spin flipper was performed; the results justify modelling new ideas and instrument designs.

Prism refraction and diffraction from crystal fibres were used to exploit the intensity of 'white' neutron beams through energy-selective neutron detection. Analysis showed the former technique to be superior; and a prototype was tested subsequently and 'proof-of-principle' achieved.

Monte Carlo simulations were carried out in 2009 - 2010 to demonstrate experimentally the principle of a 10B multi-layers detector. Performance was close to those of 3He detectors. The results supported work in 2011 on the design and building of multi-grid detector prototypes using a technique based on the application of thin layers of a neutron converter in a gas detector.

Infrastructure: A framework to set-up a Partnership for soft condensed matter (PSCM) facility on-site was established with ILL and ESRF signing a joint memorandum of understanding in November 2009, to include their financial commitment and the specification of a governance structure. Other scientific partnerships to undertake research focusing on soft condensed matter have been built. In parallel, the interests and needs of existing and potential users have been solicited through the hosting and participation in a large number of conferences and workshops.

The PSCM staff currently occupying offices in different parts of the epn science campus will be brought together in a dedicated part of the new science building when it is finished in September 2013.

The framework for technology transfer operations at ILL was completed, its recommendations endorsed, and a business development officer appointed; the technology platform will be housed in the new science building also.

Within the frame of the Contrat de Projets Etat-Région, a convention was signed in September 2009 between the ILL, the ESRF and the French local authorities (Région Rhône-Alpes, Grenoble Alpes Métropole, Ville de Grenoble), addressing financial and legal issues associated with the changes foreseen for the site.

The scheme to build a new site entrance, combined with a logistic platform and visitors' centre was cut back to that of the site entrance only, due to budgetary constraints. Building work is due to start November 2012. The planned upgrading of the site's canteen facilities is due to take place between November 2012 and the end of 2013.

The extension to ILL 7 thermal and cold neutron guide hall was planned, built, and fitted out (2008 - 2010). The building permit for new science building to be sited adjacently was obtained in May 2011; design studies were completed and tenders for building work were invited in November 2011. Construction begins March 2012, and completion, including fitting out, is due September 2013.

Studies for the extension to the ILL22 cold neutron guide hall were completed in September 2011. A building permit was obtained in November 2011 and tenders for building work invited. Construction begins March 2012 and completion including fitting, out is due June 2013.

Management: A management system was implemented at the beginning of the project to provide for regular meetings, plus the recording and monitoring of activity; these measures facilitated the review and resolution of issues arising, and the completion of periodic reporting.

Potential impact:

Expected final results and their potential impact and use: Scientists' potential to engage in new areas of discovery, and thus impact on delivery to societal requirements, rests on preparatory work to improve research infrastructures, and, to upgrade instruments and build new ones. The ILL 20/20 Upgrade project, as part of the institute's Millennium Programme (phase M-1), has contributed to preparatory actions, thus enabling ILL to strengthen its global position as a leading neutron science facility, by fostering optimisation of access and use of the instrument suites by users from throughout the world, and by promoting the conduct of basic research and the delivery of fundamental scientific results. Final results at the close of the ILL 20/20 Upgrade project include:

Invention and innovation:
- Created a new concept for neutron guide system.
- New concepts in neutron scattering instruments and technology have been explored and evaluated.
- A new device for bunching neutron beams, which opens the way to novel energy analysis techniques, has been developed.
- A novel white beam analysis prototype system has been built and tested.
- The principle of a gas detector with a solid converter resulting in a detection efficiency close to that of a 3He detector has been demonstrated for the first time.

Technical achievements:
- High density ultra-cold neutron sources have been designed and prototypes tested; a magnetic trap for ultra-cold neutrons has been fabricated and tested.
- A diamond composite 5 mm crystal for high performance at short wavelengths for a crystal monochromator has been built.
- Prototype H112 (dual) and H14 (quadruple) neutron guides have been built - optimising cost and delivery efficiency.
- Prototypes have been fabricated using novel techniques for the making of mechanical elements, and, in the production of 1 micrometre converter films.

Instruments and infrastructure:
- The strategic plan (2011 - 2014) for the maintenance and upgrade of instruments was prepared and endorsed by scientific council December 2011. This followed exhaustive preparatory studies covering benchmarking, consultation with users', an expert review, and included 'ILL 2020 Vision Conference' for the neutron scattering community to ascertain user priorities.
- New partnerships for science, attracting new users ( focusing on soft matter, extreme sample conditions and materials science) have been set up.
- The site infrastructure has been upgraded with new installations, and new protocols established.
- Preparatory studies and construction plans for a new science building and for the extension of two guide halls were completed. The first extension to the ILL7 guide hall was built in 2010 and the other buildings are due to be completed in 2013.

List of websites: http://www.ill.eu/science-technology/the-esfri-projects/