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NeutAndalus: boosting interdisciplinary neutron science in Spain and Europe

Final Report Summary - NEUTANDALUS (NeutAndalus: boosting interdisciplinary neutron science in Spain and Europe)

Objectives of the project:
1. Perform at least two start-of-the-art experiments in the most powerful neutron beam facilities of Europe.
2. Design, build and exploit a neutron beam facility using the existing accelerators of University of Seville and the associated National Centre of Accelerators CNA.
3. Create an interdisciplinary research team for the design and construction of a versatile laser-driven neutron beam facility.

These are ambitious objectives, part of which were planned to be carried out and finished during the project, and part of which are the basis of the new research line that the fellow has established at the University of Sevilla. All the experiments envisaged within Objective 1 at CERN and LiLiT have been completed. The analysis of the neutron capture on 171Tm at both facilities is finished and the corresponding paper submitted to PRL on November 2017. The analysis of 147Pm and 204Tl are part of PhD thesis and hence the analysis is taking more time than initially foreseen, but it will be completed along 2018. This part of the project has led to additional interesting research: the target preparation has been published in Radio. Acta, 105 (2017), a measurement with thermal neutrons has been carried out at the U. Mainz reactor (paper submitted to PRC), the decay of 171Tm has been fully characterized and the corresponding paper submitted to PRC. The astrophysical implications of these results are also part of the mentioned publications.

The establishment of the neutron beam at CNA has continued as planned regarding continuous beams: new experiments have been carried out with continuous beams, and a national collaboration of users (HISPaNoS) has been established. The pulsing system has been installed in 2017 and the first tests with are ongoing, which means a delay of about 18 months with respect to the plans, entirely due to the manufacturer. A very important step for the exploitation of the facility has been its recognizing among the neutron beams eligible for Transnational Access within the EC CHANDA project.

Last, the tasks within Objective 3 started in 2015 and the first related paper was recently published: Guerrero et al. EPJ-A 53:87 (2017). Furthermore, a new PhD student started working on this topic before the end of 2017, funding for a network of application of laser beams has been requested at national level, and there has been also a proposal for an “Explora Ciencia” project for the development of laser-driven neutron beams.

The development of this scientific program has had a very positive effect in the career development of the fellow, supported both by the Spanish MINECO and Universidad de Sevilla. The MINECO granted the fellow initially with a 3 years Juan de la Cierva contract and then with one of the few Ramón y Cajal 5 years contract, the step previous to a permanent position. In addition, MINECO, the EC and U. Sevilla have granted funds for about 250.000€, including salaries for two PhD students, to the host research group for complementing this Marie Curie project.