Workshop Summary: Fundamental Neutron Physics in the United States: An Opportunity in Nuclear, Particle, and Astrophysics for the Next Decade Page: 3 of 8
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FUNDAMENTAL NEUTRON PHYSICS IN THE UNITED STATES:
AN OPPORTUNITY IN NUCLEAR, PARTICLE, AND ASTROPHYSICS
FOR THE NEXT DECADE
GEOFFREY GREENE, Los Alamos National Laboratory
W. MICHAEL SNOW, Indiana University
CHRISTOPHER GOULD, North Carolina State University and TUNL
FRANK PLASIL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Conclusions based on the talks and discussions at the FPPNB2000 workshop are described.
Low-energy neutrons are of great interest as experimental probes for the study of important
questions in nuclear physics, particle physics, and astrophysics. Many precision experiments
of the past were limited by systematic uncertainties. Compared to reactor sources, pulsed
spallation neutron sources offer significant advantages in improving signal-to-noise ratios and
in characterizing energy-dependent systematic uncertainties. The proposed Spallation Neutron
Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will provide the highest peak flux neutron source in
the world and offers the United States scientific community an unmatched opportunity in
nuclear, particle, and astrophysics for the next decade.
Low-energy neutrons from reactor and spallation neutron sources have been
employed in a wide variety of investigations that shed light on important issues in
nuclear, particle, and astrophysics; in the elucidation of quantum mechanics; in the
determination of fundamental constants; and in the study of fundamental symmetry
violation (Appendix A, Glossary). In many cases, these experiments provide
important information that is not otherwise available from accelerator-based nuclear
physics facilities or high energy accelerators. An energetic research community in
the United States is engaged in "fundamental" neutron physics. With exciting recent
results, the possibility of new and upgraded sources, and a number of new
experimental ideas, there is an important opportunity for outstanding science in the
"Fundamental" neutron physics experiments are usually intensity limited.
Researchers require the highest flux neutron sources available, which are either
high-flux reactors (continuous sources) or spallation neutron sources (pulsed
sources). The primary mission of these major facilities is neutron scattering for
materials science research. Notwithstanding this condensed matter focus, essentially
all neutron scattering facilities have accepted the value of an on-site fundamental
physics program and have typically allocated 5 to 10% of their capabilities (i.e.,
beam lines) toward nuclear and particle physics research activities.
Each experiment in a fundamental neutron physics program uses neutrons in a
specific energy regime and a given experiment may or may not be well matched to
the characteristics of a particular source. Experiments are distinguished by type of
neutron beam that the facility must provide. See Appendix A, Glossary, for
definitions of ultracold, cold, thermal, and epithermal neutrons, which will be used
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Greene, G. Workshop Summary: Fundamental Neutron Physics in the United States: An Opportunity in Nuclear, Particle, and Astrophysics for the Next Decade, article, August 24, 2001; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc716259/m1/3/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.