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Pushing the high intensity frontier with ultracold neutrons

English title Pushing the high intensity frontier with ultracold neutrons
Applicant Lauss Bernhard
Number 149813
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Paul Scherrer Institut
Institution of higher education Paul Scherrer Institute - PSI
Main discipline Particle Physics
Start/End 01.11.2013 - 31.10.2015
Approved amount 142'064.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Particle Physics
Other disciplines of Physics

Keywords (3)

ultracold neutron; ultracold neutron source; fundamental neutron physics

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Am Paul Scherrer Institut wurde in jüngster Zeit eine neue hochintensive Quelle für ultrakalte Neutronen (UCN) gebaut und in Betrieb genommen. Damit will man höchste UCN Intensitäten erzeugen, welche modernste Grundlagenforschung mit Neutronen ermöglicht und ein weltweit führendes Benutzerinstrument in der Schweiz etabliert.
Lay summary

Insbesonders dienen UCN Experimenten welche ein mögliches elektrisches Dipolmoment des Neutrons suchen, oder seine Lebensdauer sehr genau vermessen möchten.  Ergebisse solcher Experimente haben weitreichenden Einfluss für das Standard Modell der Teilchenphysik, und neue darüber hinausgehende Theorien, sowie zum Verständnis der Nucleosynthese nach dem Urknall.

Das Projektziel ist zuvorderst das Erzielen höchste UCN Intensitäten – sowohl unpolarisierter wie polarisierter Neutronen, welches durch ein Verständnis aller Teile der Produktion in der Quelle erzielt werden soll, wodurch ideale Betriebsparameter ausgewählt werden können. Dazu müssen alle Parameter, welche zum Betrieb notwendig sind gemessen und optimiert werden. EIn gleichzeitig entwickeltes Simulationsmodell ermöglicht dieses Verständnis. Messungen werden mit flüssigen, festen und gasförmigen Deuterium als UCN Produktionsmedium durchgeführt.

Zusätzlich wird an Beschichtungsanlagen weitergeforscht um eine Optimierung von Oberflächenbeschichtungen durchzuführen, welche kritisch für einen effizienten UCN Transport von der Produktion zum Experiment ist.  Insbesonders da dieser Transport am PSI ca. 10m biologischer Abschirmung passieren muss. Typische Materialien, welche genauer erforscht und eingesetz werden sind Nickel-Molybdän Legierungen und diamant-förmiger Kohlenstoff, beides nichtmagnetische Materialien mit guten Neutron-Eigenschaften.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 15.10.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
A high intensity source of ultracold neutrons (UCN) was built at the Paul Scherrer Institute aiming at providing highest ultracold neutron intensities to fundamental physics experiments and in that way establish a world-wide leading user facility in Switzerland.
Lay summary

Most prominently featured are the study of fundamental properties of the neutron, e.g. to search for a possible electric dipole moment of the neutron (nEDM) or to precisely determine the neutron lifetime.

The outcome of these experiments may have far-reaching consequences for the standard model of particle physics, new ideas going beyond that, and for big-bang nucleosynthesis.

The project aims firstly at optimizing the overall performance of the UCN source with respect to the intensity of ultracold neutrons - unpolarized and polarized - delivered to experiments based on a solid understanding of the source via detailed simulation of UCN production and the neutron flight path from production to detection. Corresponding measurements of the UCN source parameters (like total intensity or flux, energy spectrum) will on one side help in the development of the model but on the other side help to deliver optimized operation parameters which are crucial information for the operating staff and the experimentators.

Crucial understanding will also come from the measurement of UCN production in solid, liquid and gaseous D2.

Additionally, we will develop coating facilities which will allow us to provide high quality UCN guides to the source and to experiments. Efficiently guiding the UCN through the several meter thick biological shielding is very important, as on this path many UCN can be lost. A few hundreds nm thick coatings of various materials will be investigated to be applied on neutron guides or storage chamber walls. Most importnat for us at this time are nickel-molybdenum and diamond-like carbon based, non-magnet coatings.   

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 15.10.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
A prestorage method to measure neutron transmission of ultracold neutron guides
Blau B., Daum M., Fertl M., Geltenbort P., Göltl L., Henneck R., Kirch K., Knecht A., Lauss B., Schmidt-Wellenburg P., Zsigmond G. (2016), A prestorage method to measure neutron transmission of ultracold neutron guides, in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detecto, 807, 30-40.
Ultracold neutron production at the second spallation target of the Paul Scherrer Institute
Lauss Bernhard (2014), Ultracold neutron production at the second spallation target of the Paul Scherrer Institute, in ESS Science Symposium on Neutron Physics at Long Pulse Spallation SOurces, ILL Grenoble, France 51, 98-101, 51, 98-101.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. K. Bodek, Jagellonian University, Cracow Poland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. G. Ban , Laboratoire de Physique Corpusculaire, Caen France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. N. Severijns, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. W. Heil, Institut fuer Physik, Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Neutron Delivery System Talk given at a conference The ultracold neutron source at the Paul Scherrer Institute - Performance and Status 25.06.2018 Grenoble, France Lauss Bernhard;
nEDM2017 WOrkshop Talk given at a conference The next phase of the search for a neutron electric dipole moment at the Paul Scherrer Institute - Status of n2EDM 16.10.2017 Harrison Hot SPrings, Canada Schmidt-Wellenburg Philipp; Ries Dieter; Lauss Bernhard; Zsigmond Geza;
4th International Workshop on Neutron Delivery Systems Talk given at a conference Status of the ultracold neutron source at the Paul Scherrer Institute 28.09.2015 Grenoble,, France Lauss Bernhard;
ETHZ/UZh PhD Seminar Days Talk given at a conference Studies of neutron transport and extraction at the PSI source for Ultracold Neutrons 26.08.2015 Villigen PSI, Switzerland Ries Dieter;
6th International Symposium on Symmetries in Subatomic Physics. Talk given at a conference Ultracold neutrons for fundamental physics experiments at the Paul Scherrer Institute 08.06.2015 Victoria, Canada Lauss Bernhard;
Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics - Seminar Individual talk Constraints on axion-like particles from the nEDM experiment 27.05.2015 Bern, Switzerland Lauss Bernhard;
Physics Seminar Los Alamos National Laboratory Individual talk Status of the UCN source and nEDM Experiment 18.02.2015 Los Alamos, United States of America Ries Dieter;
Challenges of the worldwide experimental search for an electric dipole moment of the neutron -nEDM 2014 Talk given at a conference Status of the source for ultracold neutrons (UCN) at the Paul Scherrer Institute 02.11.2014 Ascona, Switzerland Ries Dieter;
Exotic Atoms and Molecules - EXA2014 Talk given at a conference Performance of the ultracold neutron source at PSI and the search for an electric dipole moment of the neutron 15.09.2014 Wien, Austria Lauss Bernhard;
International WOrkshop on UCN Physics Talk given at a conference PSI's ultracold neutron source and the search for an electric dipole moment of the neutron 16.07.2014 Osaka, Japan Lauss Bernhard;
Second International Symposium on Science at J-PARC (J-PARC 2014), Talk given at a conference PSI's ultracold neutron source and the search for an electric dipole moment of the neutron 11.07.2014 Tsukuba, Japan Lauss Bernhard;
International Seminar on Interactions of Neutrons and Nuclei Talk given at a conference Performance of the ultracold neutron source at the Paul Scherrer Institute 26.05.2014 Dubna, Russia Lauss Bernhard;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Tag der Offenen Tuer German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
137664 Pushing the high intensity frontier for ultracold neutrons 01.11.2011 Project funding (Div. I-III)
163413 Improving ultracold neutron intensities for frontier precision experiments in fundamental physics 01.11.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)
172626 Highly accurate vector gradiometers for a next-generation neutron EDM experiment 01.08.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)
160585 Ultracold neutron production for a sensitivity-enhanced electric dipole moment measurement 01.06.2015 International short research visits
144473 Search for the neutron EDM at the high intensity ultracold neutron source at PSI with an upgraded high sensitivity spectrometer - Follow-up application 01.10.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
150651 A mobile Raman spectrometer to determine the spin population of deuterium gas 01.12.2013 R'EQUIP
157079 Search for the neutron EDM at the high intensity ultracold neutron source at PSI with an upgraded high sensitivity spectrometer - Follow-up application II. 01.10.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

A high intensity source of ultracold neutrons (UCN) was built at the Paul Scherrer Institute aiming at providing highest ultracold neutron intensities to fundamental physics experiments and in that way establish a world-wide leading user facility in Switzerland.
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