The Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences (JINS) was founded as a collaborative effort between Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Tennessee (UT) to promote the use of neutron scattering in various fields of research.
Neutron scattering can provide information about the structure and properties of materials that can't be obtained from other techniques. When a beam of neutrons is aimed at a sample many neutrons will pass through the material, but some will interact directly with atomic nuclei and "bounce" away at an angle. This behavior is called neutron scattering. Using detectors, scientists can count the scattered neutrons, measure their energies and the angles at which they scatter, and map their final position. In this way, scientists can glean details about the nature of materials ranging from liquid crystals to superconducting ceramics, from proteins to plastics, and from metals to micelles to metallic glass magnets.(source)
The goal of JINS is to serve as a gateway for users of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the recently upgraded High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) at ORNL. HFIR uses a reactor to generate neutrons in a steady beam. SNS uses an accelerator to generate pulsed beams. For some research, having neutrons available in a continuous beam is advantageous; for other research, a pulsed beam is better. The availability of both types of neutron sources at one facility gives scientists unique opportunities to work with some of the most advanced technology in the world in one location.
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