The RID operates a 2.3 MW research reactor that produces neutrons. Irradiation facilities close to the core are used to irradiate materials with these neutrons, to produce isotopes that are used in health- and various domains in material science. The high gamma radiation field close to the core is used to produce positrons that are extracted towards specialised positron research instruments in the nearby guide hall. Several guide systems are used to provide the suite of neutron scattering instruments with neutron beams. A selection of these instruments utilise the newly installed cold source (the OYSTER project), a device used to change the characteristics of the neutron beam for higher sensitivity and resolution. This allows an even stronger exploitation of the remarkable sensitivity of neutrons for certain elements (Hydrogen, Lithium, Boron etc.), with most prominent applications in catalysis, hydrogen storage, Lithium ion battery research, drug delivery systems and steel research.
Around the facility a number of radiological labs are in operation to accommodate the research and education that uses radioactive samples and sources.
A summary of the instrument suite:
• Neutron Imaging: Tomography with the unique neutron contrast can be performed with a 50 micron spatial resolution: ideal for the determination of hydrogen based materials in combination with metals that are relatively transparent for neutrons. Lubricants in an engine, hydrogen in a running fuel cell, lithium in batteries or even the structure (casting process) in a bronze cultural heritage statue can be determined.
• Neutron Powder Diffraction: atomic d-spacing can be determined from 0.7 to 13 Ångström with the neutron sensitivity. Li-ion battery material, Catalysis, Hydrogen loading are important applications.
• Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS): bulk structures in soft and hard matter are determined with length scales ranging from 1 nm to 200 nm. With the extension of Spin-Echo SANS (SESANS) the length scale can be extended to 20 micron. Applications range from colloids, emulsions, gels, magnetic structure, metal phase transitions, anorganic solar cells to granular materials.
• Neutron reflectometry: Used to determine the layer thickness and composition of thin films with thickness of 5 - 150 nm. Systems can be studied that are composed of multiple layers, solids or solid-liquid interfaces. This is important for battery research (determine a Li or Na concentration profile), for Hydrogen research (concentration in metal) or for soft matter determine surfactants, polymers and membranes.
• Neutron Depth profiling: Used to determine element concentrations (Li, B, N, O, S, Cl, K) in materials as function of depth to 10 micron. Battery research is the major topic of this instrument where one can follow Li in a battery while charging and discharging.
• Posh-Pals: Positrons used to non-destructively determine open volume defects in polymers and thin layers smaller than 1 micron. This to determine surface dynamics of polymers and interface or understand degradation processes for thin film solar cells.
• Posh-2D ACAR: Positrons to determine nanopores in solid state materials surface, nm tot I-2 µm. This instrument is important for development of self-healing materials, solar cell and electronic structure of quantum dots.
• A suite of Irradiation facilities: Used to produce isotopes for medical applications, element analysis, and tracer-based research in a large variety of scientific domains (e.g. material science, epidemiology, chemistry, biology, physiology, toxicology, food/diet/supplement applications).
• Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA): used to determine the concentration of elements in solids (e.g. environmental, industry, biological, chemicals).
• Mossbauer: Used to determine electron valances of e.g. Fe, Au, Sn, W, Lanthanides. This has applications in the field of Catalysis (oil industry), permanent magnets and Hydrogen storage.