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Project's completion gives neutron science community reason to SING

August 16, 2011 — Five of the world's most advanced instruments for neutron scattering research are serving the neutron science community following the completion of the $68.5 million SING project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Spallation Neutron Source (SNS).

The project to design, build and install the five instruments for neutron scattering analysis at the SNS, funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Science, was recently finished ahead of schedule and under budget. In total, the SNS currently has 15 operational instruments for neutron analysis including the five SING instruments, and will eventually have 24 instruments arrayed around its neutron-producing target.

"SING's completion gives neutron researchers access to unparalleled tools for examining and understanding the advanced materials that will be key to meeting our energy challenges," said Harriet Kung, director of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) within DOE's Office of Science.

The five instruments under the SING (SNS Instruments - Next Generation) project are the Spallation Neutrons and Pressure Diffractometer, or SNAP; the Fine-Resolution Fermi Chopper Spectrometer, or SEQUOIA; the Single-Crystal Diffractometer, or TOPAZ; the Nanoscale-Ordered Materials Diffractometer, or NOMAD; and the just completed Hybrid Polarized Beam Spectrometer, or HYSPEC, which concluded the project.

Neutrons from the SNS's target are channeled through beamlines to the instruments' detectors, which provide analytical data that enable researchers to determine the atomic and molecular structures responsible for the properties of advanced materials.

The instruments, the first of which entered commissioning in early 2008, are already enabling the research community to take advantage of the SNS's unprecedentedly intense neutron beams. For example, one of the first on line -- SEQUOIA -- has provided new understanding of the magnetic interaction dynamics behind exotic behaviors in advanced materials and of the dynamic processes in naturally occurring materials such as muscovite. Another instrument, SNAP, yielded discoveries on the structure of gas hydrates relevant to their potential use in carbon sequestration.

"This exceptional team, which comprised instrument scientists, engineers, designers, technicians, installers, scientific associates, project controls and finance officers, brought this project in ahead of schedule and just under budget," Ian Anderson, ORNL's associate laboratory director for Neutron Sciences, said.

Information on the SNS, its instruments and ORNL's neutron science research is available on the web at

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the DOE Office of Science.