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Sample Environment & Polarimetry

The ILL can support industrial R&D in its quest for technological development.
We intervene in challenging problem-solving situations and exploratory projects.

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Technology Transfer

Sample Environment & Polarimetry

The Service for Advanced Neutron Environments provides sample environment equipment and polarised neutron tools to the ILL instruments. Its team has a strong track record in producing standards in sample environment and polarimetry for the whole neutron community. Among the many products developed at ILL we can cite:

  • the "Orange" cryostat which has been distributed by A.S. Scientific across the world for several decades. The main features of this cryostat include large sample top-loading capability, isolated sample area with static exchange gas, low helium consumption and fast sample cycling times. Several variants of the standard cryostat are available to accommodate different sample dimensions and uses. The standard sample access dimensions are  Ø50, 70 and 100 mm.
  • the "Blue" furnace also distributed by A.S. Scientific internationally for decades now. These top-loading furnaces are characterized by their flexibility and transparency to neutrons. The outer furnace body is made of aluminium for use under high vacuum or inert gas atmospheres. All internal components in the neutron beam are made of thin vanadium or niobium foils. Heating is achieved with low voltage, high current resistance heaters. A thermally decoupled heater and up to eight thermal shields guarantee small temperature gradients. Long-term temperature stability is typically 0.1 % of the actual temperature, and gradients are in the order of 0.1 to 0.5% of the actual temperature.
  • the "Cryopad" zero-field polarimeter which we have duplicated and installed in Germany (TU Aachen - FRM II), Japan (JAEA) and France (CEA-Grenoble) is the only device capable of determining precisely and reliably the direction of the scattered polarisation vector for any given incident polarisation and any scattering angle. This compact Cryogenic Polarization Analysis Device (Cryopad) takes advantage of Meissner shields to properly define the magnetic field and zero-field regions crossed by incident and scattered neutron beams, even in a stray magnetic field environment.
  • the  "Cryopol" magnetostatic cavity for hosting 3He neutron spin filter cells in stray magnetic fields. This device allows large-section neutron beams to be polarised; it features a perfect wide-band spin flipper. It consists of a superconducting Nb cylinder in which we trap a homogeneous magnetic field upon cooling.
  • the helium and nitrogen level monitors, with auto-fill, alarms, a very simple user interface, and a function allowing settings to be changed remotely via a RS485 or Ethernet communication link.

We have recently designed a very compact cryogen-free cryostat for cradles with a base temperature of 1.7K. A version of this cryostat is distributed by Advanced Research Systems in the USA. Within the framework of the Millennium Programme's Sample Environment modernisation drive, the ILL has decided to provide a better suite of cryomagnets for experiments on three-axis spectrometers, reflectometers, small-angle and time-of-flight spectrometers. The objectives are numerous and somewhat contradictory: reduced neutron absorption, reduced neutron scattering, no liquid nitrogen, zero liquid He boil-off, and fast sample cooling time with 40mK base temperature. The new design has been put forward by ILL and developed in collaboration with Oxford Instruments (see poster above). The first two cryomagnets will be delivered to three-axis spectrometers and reflectometers in 2010.