Recovering the research
After quake, ORNL helps Japanese neutron scientists continue experiments
Maiko Kofu, Atsushi Nagoe and Osamu Yamamuro examine their sample attached to the end of the cryostat stick after running an experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source.(hi-res image)
In addition to donating $20,000 to aid in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is helping displaced Japanese colleagues in neutron science continue their research.
ORNL joined a city of Oak Ridge effort with a $20,000 donation to Oak Ridge's sister city of Naka, Japan, to repair a local school damaged during the earthquake. Staff contributions came through Team UT-Battelle, a UT-Battelle corporate gift and ORNL's Asian Pacific American Committee.
Throughout the course of the summer, ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and High Flux Isotope Reactor will host various groups of Japanese scientists unable to continue their research in their usual facilities.
The Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex, located in the quake stricken northern section of the country, was shut down when the mercury target shifted several inches from its base, halting experiments taking place on site.
Because of the fast-paced nature of this kind of scientific work, the management team at SNS decided to grant beam time to J-PARC affiliated researchers whose projects were interrupted by the disaster. A number of proposals from JPARC researchers were reviewed and three were assigned beam time in June by Georg Ehlers, the lead instrument scientist for the SNS's Cold Neutron Chopper Spectrometer.
The second of the three sets of researchers, a group of three physicists from Tokyo University are using the CNCS to investigate the basic science that governs an ionic liquid that could help uncover the origin of the boson peak. The scientists hope to return to ORNL to continue their research. J-PARC is expected to be out of service until the end of the year.
"We have similar facilities at J-PARC," Osamu Yamamuro, associate professor at Tokyo University said, "but I think each facility has its own unique character and this facility has an orientation to basic physics, so I think that is very useful. We wish to come here until J-PARC is ready again."
A group from Tohoku University near Sendai conducted work earlier at the CNCS and another set of researchers will fly in from Tokyo University to continue their interrupted experiments. The Japanese scientists visiting this week have felt at home while working at SNS.
"I think ORNL is very user friendly," Maiko Kofu, a research associate working with Yamamuro at Tokyo University said. "The system is very good."
In all, SNS has accepted 24 proposals from J-PARC researchers who will use the facilities before December.
ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.— Miriam Kramer, June 29, 2011