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Institut Laue-Langevin

The ILL has firmly established itself as a pioneer in neutron science and technology. Neutron beams are used to carry out frontier research in diverse fields.

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Neutron technology at ILL

TYREX : Polarised 3He filling station

The “Tyrex” filling station for nuclear polarisation of 3He gas has been constructed at the ILL during 2000-2002. The Tyrex machine uses metastability-exchange optical pumping for polarising the 3He gas at about 1 mbar pressure. The gas is then compressed up to several bars via a hydraulic titanium-alloy piston compressor. The machine can provide about 1.3 bar.l/h of 75-80% polarised gas.

  • Compressor head


  • Powerful hydraulic actuator under closed-loop computer control
  • Velocity: 30 cm/sec, final position within 3 µm precision
  • Polarisation Preserving Piston and Chamber: Titanium alloy, 11 cm diameter and 55 cm stroke
  • Total displacement: 5200 cm3, compression ratio: >15000


  • Infrared Yb-fiber laser (All-fiber V-Grove Tech.)
  • Optimised for Helium gas 23S1-23P transition (1083 nm, 2 GHz bandwidth)
  • Power : 50W (five 10W units)

Magnetic field

  • 9 coils of 2 m diameter
  • Field amplitude: 10 Gauss
  • Homogeneity region:  diameter 0.9 m, 2.5 m long
  • Relative field gradient : < 1.2 10-4 cm-1


  • 83% polarisation in static mode
  • 77-80% on neutron beam
  • Production rate :  1.3 bar-litre / hour
  • Final pressure : up to 4 bar




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