European Spallation Source
Scientific Purpose: Provide unique information about the structure and properties of materials across the spectrum of biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.
|Science with neutrons|
The European Spallation Source (ESS) is a multi-disciplinary research facility based on what will be the world's most powerful pulsed neutron source. It is currently under construction in Lund, Sweden. The ESS Data Management and Software Centre (DMSC) will be located in Copenhagen, Denmark. At least 17 European countries will act as partners in the construction and operation of ESS. First neutrons on the target are expected in 2019, with the user program planned for 2023, and construction of the entire facility complete by 2025. ESS is the world's next-generation neutron source, and will enable scientists to see and understand basic atomic structures and forces at length and time scales unachievable at other neutron sources.
ESS became a European Research Infrastructure Consortium, or ERIC, on 1 October 2015. The European Spallation Source ERIC is "a joint European organisation committed to constructing and operating the world's leading facility for research using neutrons."
ESS will use spallation, a process in which fragments of material (spall) are ejected from a body due to impact or stress. The future facility is composed of a linear accelerator in which protons are accelerated and collide with a rotating, helium-cooled tungsten target. By this process, intense pulses of neutrons are emitted and led through beamlines to experimental stations, where research is done on different materials. This will help discover and develop new materials with applications in manufacturing, pharmaceutical drugs, aerospace, engines, plastics, energy, telecommunications, transportation, information technology and biotechnology. According to its designers, ESS will provide neutron beams up to 30 times brighter than any current neutron source. ESS is also designed to be carbon-neutral and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions in the region.
Information on the scientific instruments selected to be built at ESS can be found here.
When the ISIS neutron source was built in England in 1985, its radical success in producing indirect images of molecular structures eventually raised the possibility of a far more powerful spallation source. By 1993, the European Neutron Scattering Association began to advocate what would be the most ambitious and broad-based spallation source in the world, ESS.
Neutron science soon became a critical tool in the development of industrial and consumer products worldwide. So much so that the Organization for Economic Development (OECD), declared in 1999 that a new generation of high-intensity neutron sources should be built, one each in North America, Asia and Europe. Europe's challenge was its diverse collection of national governments, and an active research community numbering in the thousands. In 2001, a European roadmap for developing accelerator driven systems for nuclear waste incineration estimated that the ESS could have the beam ready for users in 2010. A European international task force gathered in Bonn in 2002 to review the findings and a positive consensus emerged to build ESS. The stakeholders group met a year later to review the task force's progress, and in 2003 a new design concept was adopted that set the course for beginning operations by 2019.
Over the next five years a competitive and yet collaborative site selection process played out and Lund, Sweden was chosen as the preferred site; the definitive selection of Lund was announced in Brussels on 28 May 2009. On 1 July 2010, the staff and operations of ESS Scandinavia were transferred from Lund University to 'European Spallation Source ESS AB', a limited liability company set up to design, construct and operate the European Spallation Source in Lund. The company's headquarters are situated in central Lund.
ESS became a European Research Infrastructure Consortium, or ERIC, on 1 October 2015. The Founding Members of the European Spallation Source ERIC are the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland. Founding Observers of the European Spallation Source ERIC, who intend to become Members in the near future, are Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
As of 2013 the estimated cost of the facility will be about €1.843 bn. Host nations Sweden and Denmark plan to give about half of the sum. However the negotiations about the exact contributions from every partner are still in progress. From 2010 to 30 September 2015, ESS was operated as a Swedish aktiebolag, or AB.
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On 28 May 2009, seven countries indicated support for placing ESS in Sweden. Furthermore, Switzerland and Italy indicated that they would support the site in majority. On 6 June 2009, Spain withdrew the Bilbao candidacy and signed a collaboration agreement with Sweden, supporting Lund as the main site, but with key component development work being performed in Bilbao. This effectively settled the location of the ESS; detailed economical negotiations between the participating countries are now taking place. On 18 December 2009, Hungary also chose to tentatively support ESS in Lund, thus withdrawing the candidacy of Debrecen.
The construction of the facility began in early 2014, with a groundbreaking event held in September of that year. First neutrons on the target are expected in 2019, with a user programme beginning in 2023, and it is planned to be fully operational by 2025. ESS provides weekly updates of construction progress and live construction site webcams on its website.
The spallation target and its environmental impact
- The ESS source will be built around a solid tungsten target, cooled by helium gas.
- Radioactive substances will be generated by the spallation process, but the solid target makes the handling of these materials easier and safer than if a liquid target had been used.
- ESS, E.on, and Lunds Energi are collaborating in a project aiming to get the facility to be the world's first completely sustainable large-scale research centre through investment in wind power. The ESS project is expected to include an extension of the Nysted Wind Farm.
- Radioactive material storage and transport will be required, but the need is much less than that of a nuclear reactor.
- More information on the ESS licensing process can be found here.
- ESS expects to be CO2-neutral.
- Recent design improvements will decrease energy usage at ESS.
Neutron Scattering and Imaging Instruments at ESS
ESS has 15 instruments in its construction budget. They are
- DREAM (Bispectral Powder Diffractometer)
- HEIMDAL (Hybrid Diffractometer)
- MAGiC (Magnetism Single Crystal Diffractometer)
- NMX (Macromolecular Crystallography)
- BIFROST (Extreme Environment Spectrometer)
- CSPEC (Cold Chopper Spectrometer)
- MIRACLES (Backscattering Spectrometer)
- T-REX (Bispectral Chopper Spectrometer)
- VESPA (Vibrational Spectrometer)
- ESTIA (Focusing Reflectometer)
- FREIA (Liquids Reflectometer)
- LoKI (Broadband Small Angle Neutron Scattering)
- SKADI (General Purpose Small Angle Neutron Scattering)
Engineering and Imaging:
- ISIS neutron source — Europe’s only pulsed spallation source
- J-PARC - The world's most powerful spallation source, located in Japan
- MAX IV — synchrotron radiation facility in Lund
- Spallation Neutron Source
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- European Spallation Source website. The most up-to-date source for information on the ESS project.
- Weekly updates of the construction of ESS and live webcams at the construction site.
- "EU FP7 Preparatory Phase Project". Archived from the original on 13 August 2010.
- essworkshop.org - See how the design of instrumentation for a future ESS-Scandinavia is moving forward.
- BrightnESS, EU grant project in support of ESS.
- SREss, EU grant project in support of ESS.