The ¥2.2bn ($330m) China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS) has produced its first neutrons. The facility is the fourth spallation neutron source to be built in the world. When it opens to users in 2018, the CSNS will have a wide range of applications in areas such as materials science, life sciences, physics, chemical industry and energy.

Neutron bunches

The neutron source is located some 30 km south-east of Dongguan and is one of the largest scientific facilities in China. Construction began in 2012 and the CSNS features a 200 m-long 80 MeV linear accelerator that feeds protons into a 1.6 GeV 238 m circumference synchrotron. In July 2017, the facility managed to accelerate a proton beam to 1.6 GeV for the first time. The protons are then fired into a solid tungsten target that will produce a 100 kW beam of neutrons with 25 bunches of particles released every second.

The facility has room for a total of 20 instruments. The CSNS will initially contain three instruments – a powder diffractometer, a small-angle neutron-scattering instrument and a reflectometer. Two more instruments are in the pipeline including a high-pressure powder diffractometer and an engineering diffractometer, which is being built in collaboration with the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source in Oxfordshire, UK.