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New Opportunities for Neutrons in Environmental and Biological Sciences

Publication Type
Journal Name
Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 8

The use of neutron methods in environmental and biological sciences is rapidly emerging and accelerating with the development of new instruments at neutron user facilities. This article, based on a workshop held at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), offers insights into the application of neutron techniques in environmental and biological sciences. We highlight recent advances and identify key challenges and potential future research areas. These include soil and rhizosphere processes, root water dynamics, plant-microbe interactions, structure and dynamics of biological systems, applications in synthetic biology and enzyme engineering, next-generation bioproducts, biomaterials and bioenergy, nanoscale structure, and fluid dynamics of porous materials in geochemistry. We provide an outlook on emerging opportunities with an emphasis on new capabilities that will be enabled at the Spallation Neutron Source Second Target Station currently under design at ORNL. The mission of scientific neutron user facilities worldwide is to enable science using state-of-the-art neutron capabilities. We aim to encourage researchers in the environmental and biological research community to explore the unique capability afforded by neutrons at these facilities.