Record breaking accelerator
By Hamish Johnston in Portland, Oregon
Here’s a question for you, what is the most powerful accelerator in the world?
No, it’s not the LHC – that holds the record for energy – the answer is the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at the Oak National Lab in Tennessee.
In September 2009 the facility delivered a pulsed beam of 1 GeV protons at a power of 1 MW.
The pulses are fired at a target of liquid mercury, creating copious amounts of neutrons, which can then be slowed down and used for studying solids and liquids.
This afternoon I saw a nice talk by Stuart Henderson of Oak Ridge about recent progress at the SNS. Since experiments began in 2006, the number of instruments attached to the neutron beamline has grown to 12 and he expects that 16 instruments will be running by 2012.
And of course, Oak Ridge hope to upgrade the facility between 2012–2017 – boosting the energy to 1.3 GeV and the power to 3 MW.