Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BrightnESS (Building a research infrastructure and synergies for highest scientific impact on ESS)
Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2018-08-31
• Minimising and mitigating technical and non-technical risks associated with the planning, design and delivery of IKC.
• Completing the transfer of ESS to an ERIC and creating capacity in the infrastructure's innovation activities.
• Designing and testing neutron detectors which avoid the problem of 3He shortage, with extended performance in terms of resolution, intensity and dimensions for six ESS instruments, and supporting the integration of neutron detectors into the ESS instrument suite. Assist in finding and testing engineering solutions for novel moderator designs.
• Developing software infrastructure which takes into account a variety of neutron detector types at ESS and different forms of raw output from these detectors. Software will also be developed to aggregate the different sources of data into one data stream and publish it so that other software packages for processing.
• BrightnESS supports ESS’ efforts to gain the trust of future users from science and industry. It also supports the enlargement of the ESS Member base and strengthens the outreach to industry via the ILO network.
• WP2 (Strengthening IK Contribution and Coordination): Around 40% of the technical scope for ESS will be delivered as In-Kind (IK) contributions by participating countries. The management of IK is not part of the ESS Cost Book. This constitutes a risk to the successful delivery of IK by all partners. To minimize this, BrightnESS has mobilised resources to build capacity and knowledge at the ESS and within partners to consistently monitor the development and transfer of IK. BrightnESS has created six regional Hubs, delivered trainings to so-called Field Coordinators at the Hubs and has developed an online IK Management platform called XRM+ to deliver key information to the IK Management Coordination Office, ESS partners and ESS management for the governance of the ESS Project. XRM+ is important because since the end of 2016 the number of IKC commitments and deliveries has started to increase significantly.
• WP3 (Organisational Innovation): The first task was to progress the discussion on how to handle VAT in relation to IKC activities between institutes and with suppliers. At the start of the project it was not clear how IK partners should deal with VAT exemption for ESS. The European Commission ERIC Directive leaves it largely to national states to make arrangements according to national law. A VAT workshop with national representatives has led to a summary which outlines the views held by the different member countries and possible alternative solutions. WP3 also supported ESS by developing its Innovation Policy and the creation of its Technology Transfer Office. It also increased the ESS’ capacity and understanding of Pre-Competitive Procurement (PCP) and Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) as instruments to foster innovation.
• WP4 (Innovation of Key Neutronic Technologies: Detectors and Moderators): Detector readout is now treated as a modular system, meaning that a generic readout will support a variety of detector designs. The counting rate of the original Multi-Blade design has also been improved. The new design improves spatial resolution by about a factor three over current 3He -based reflectometer detectors. A data rate of 40 kHz/mm2 has already been achieved (target rate: 100 kHz/mm2). Another achievement was the development of the Low Dimension Moderator which is crucial to enhancing neutron source brightness. Demonstration results provide input for the design and fabrication of the ESS moderator and significantly reduce technical risk during ESS construction. Other work focused on a generic design and demonstration of the Multi-Grid detector. The refined detector is considered the key 3He replacement technology application as it represents 60-70% of the active detector area for the ESS instrument suite.
• WP5 (Real-Time Management of ESS Data): Once ESS is operational, large quantities of data will be processed for live reduction and visualisation, providing real-time feedback while the experiments are running. Decisions have been made to use Apache Kafka as the underlying technology for aggregation and streaming and Google FlatBuffers as the serialisation library. A design review was held on all software (prototypes) that are expected to run at ESS.
• WP6 (Collaboration, Communication and Dissemination): WP6 supports ESS in gaining future users trust from science, academia and industry by means of expanding the ESS community and network and by raising awareness for ESS among key stakeholders. A pan-European survey of neutron sources was carried out to identify scientific trends among European neutron users, collect consolidated information about technical capacity of the participating research facilities and gather data about the usage of instruments across scientific disciplines. To understand needs and expectations of future industrial users, focus groups were held in six regional hubs across Europe. The feedback received gives ESS a clear picture of technical, legal and financial constraints that companies have when deciding whether to use large research facilities for their R&D. Another task focused on enlargement of the ESS membership base. Meetings were held with scientific communities and/or governmental representatives from Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Latvia, Canada and Japan to name a few. WP6 also supported ESS in strengthening its ILO Network and expanding the opportunity for innovation by mobilizing industry for ESS. Several communication tools and materials were developed to disseminate BrightnESS results and provide timely update on the project progress to internal and external audiences.
• The basic premise behind the ESS IKC approach is that Member Countries fund national scientific institutes and encourage companies to help construct the ESS facilities and perform R&D and engineering works. This has ensured that research capacity (i.e. jobs) and knowledge stays in the country and contributes to a further strengthening of the local science and innovation base.
• The significant technical results achieved in WP4 on detector development will help to ensure that in future the ESS will become the focal point for global materials research.