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Bimonthly News for HFIR and SNS Users | July—Aug 2021            View this email in your browser

SNS and HFIR 5-Year Working Schedule Available

The 5-year working schedule for the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) is available online. It includes projected outages for the SNS Proton Power Upgrade and HFIR Beryllium Reflector Replacement. This schedule is subject to change in response to evolving operational and project needs. Updates will be made available on the website if changes occur.

2022-A General User Proposal Call Deadline

The ORNL Neutron Sciences User Program is accepting proposals for remote access experiments for the 2022-A operational cycle. Proposals awarded beam time will be scheduled to run in January-June 2022. The deadline for submissions is noon (Eastern), Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
For more information on submitting a proposal, please see How to Submit a Proposal or watch our SNS-HFIR Proposal Writing Tutorial. When you are ready to submit your proposal, log in to the Integrated Proposal Tracking System (IPTS).

Joint Nanoscience and Neutron Scattering User Meeting

The 2021 Joint Nanoscience and Neutron Scattering User Meeting was held online from August 9-12, 2021, with workshops held during the weeks of August 2 and August 16. This meeting highlighted the research achievements and interests of CNMS, SNS, and HFIR users, staff and the broader nanoscience and neutron scattering communities. There were 310 people in attendance during the User Meeting week and 540 total participants including workshop attendees.

Plenary speakers included Linda Horton (Basic Energy Sciences in the Department of Energy), Luke Brewer (The University of Alabama), Deji Akinwande (University of Texas at Austin), Rana Ashkar (Virginia Tech), and John Randall (Zyvex Labs).

At the SHUG Town Hall, the Outstanding Staff Service Awards were presented to Yongqiang Chen and Lisa Debeer-Schmitt. Best Student Presentation Awards were presented to Nina Andrejevic (MIT), Bogdan Dryzhakov (UTK), Sajna Hameed (University of Minnesota), and Alexandra Koegel (Colorado State).

Select video content of the meeting will be made available online for later viewing.

Neutron and X-Ray School Held July 12-30

Oak Ridge and Argonne National Laboratories hosted the Neutron and X-ray Scattering School July 12-30 to train the next class of users. The purpose of NXS is to introduce graduate students to the major neutron and x-ray scattering facilities in the US and their extraordinary benefits to society. Each year, 60 students are selected to participate in the weeks-long school to learn the many different hands-on scattering techniques. Many of the students return to the facilities as users, and some even become instrument scientists themselves.

The 2021 virtual program built on last year’s, featuring guest lecturers from academia and other institutions who use neutrons and x-rays extensively in their own research. But this year’s school significantly extended the virtual platform by offering remote beamline experiments in lieu of in-person, hands-on experiments in which the students would normally participate.

“We tried this year to create a more interactive school using Gather.town and the flipped classroom concept, which was a huge improvement compared to last year. The students appreciated very much the effort to give them a “remote hands-on” experience,” said Matthias Frontzek, school organizer and ORNL instrument scientist. 

More information about the program for this year’s NXS and previous school years can be found at https://neutrons.ornl.gov/nxs.

Remote Experiment Capabilities Continue to Expand

Remote experiment capabilities enable users to conduct experiments and produce data through remote control of the instrument. Currently, 21 instruments at SNS and HFIR are enabled for remote instrument control, and we have had 68 users remotely accessing instrument functions.

Proposals accepted to run through remote control of the instrument will require additional pre-experiment steps for users, including filling out sample container and loading information and watching training videos to learn about the instrument workspace and controls. Users interested in running a remote experiment will have expressed this interest when submitting a proposal to the 2022-A proposal call. A yes/no option has been added to IPTS on the instrument selection page which states, “I am interested in running my experiment through remote control of the instrument.” Final determination of proposals to be awarded remote experiment status will be made by ORNL staff, and users will be notified of this status in their proposal award letter.

Reminder: Access Requirements Change for Foreign National Users

Effective May 1, 2021, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) requires up to 20 business days to process Remote and On-Site Access for foreign national users. This processing time does not include weekends or holidays and starts once the access request has been submitted to the User Office for processing.

Any foreign national user that has notified us they intend to participate in an experiment, and currently does not have an access request in place, will be emailed an ORNL invitation form to gather the required information to submit an access request. Please be sure to submit this form and any requested documentation in a timely manner. If you have any questions about your access, please email the SNS/HFIR User Assistants at hfirsnsusers@ornl.gov

Virtual Tours Available for SNS and HFIR

Come take a look inside SNS and HFIR through the ORNL’s virtual tours. The virtual tours of SNS and HFIR feature 360-degree multi-level views, enabling you to experience the facilities in the same manner as an in-person tour. You will have access to more than 30 high-powered instruments, as well as the construction site for VENUS, the SNS facility’s newest instrument. Along the way, you can see interesting research examples, videos, and fun facts about the facilities. Take the SNS virtual tour, the HFIR virtual tour, or the Klystron virtual tour.

Science Highlight

A Cousin of Table Salt Could Make Energy Storage Faster and Safer

Using a technique called neutron scattering characterization on lithium vanadium oxide, scientists revealed that the material can rapidly charge and discharge energy. The material has a structure similar to table salt but with a more random atomic arrangement. The new material demonstrated many desirable properties for energy storage, including very fast-charge/-discharge and high-energy storage capacity needed for electric vehicles, power tools, electric scooters, and other applications. Read More >
A new disordered rock salt-like structured electrode (left) resists dendrite growth and could lead to safer, faster-charging, long-life lithium-ion batteries (right).

Staff Updates

Chyan Duncan has joined the Neutron Scattering Division as an Instrument Hall Coordinator. Chyan previously worked with the Sample Environment group as a contract employee for two years. As an SE technician, she was responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting, and installing low-temperature and high-magnetic-field SE equipment on SNS beamlines.

Chyan holds a certification in mechatronics as well as a degree in general studies from Roane State Community College. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in environmental and sustainability studies with Tennessee Technological University. Outside of work, Chyan enjoys fly fishing and hiking.

Visit our Science Highlights page for all the recent news and features including:

For questions or comments about this newsletter, please contact
Janell Thomson thomsonji@ornl.gov.
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