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Oak Ridge reactor sets neutron world record

The High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has set a world record for concentration of cold neutrons that are used to study materials.

Oak Ridge's Ron Crone says the high resolution intensity of the neutrons can study a material's molecular structure deeper than any other facility in the world.

"The HFIR cold source provides the most intense cold neutron beam available," Crone says. "With that, the neutron scattering community is able to use that beam to study the structure of materials."

Upgrading of the Oak Ridge reactor started a year ago, providing new research opportunities.

"The fact that the neutrons are cool provides a wave length which lets them look at the structures in more detail and do smaller samples," Crone says.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.