"Small Sciences at Large Facilities

— Condensed matter science studied

by neutron and synchrotron radiation —"



Yasuhiko Fujii

Director, Center for Neutron Science, Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute



In contrast to experimental nuclear physics and high-energy physics, neutron and synchrotron radiation (X-ray) researches in condensed matters such as solid, liquid and soft matter can be conducted by a small group, even by a single person, but require a research reactor or an accelerator, a typical large facility, as a source of beams for probing atoms and molecules. Neutrons and X-rays with wavelength of an order of nanometer comparable to atomic distances in condensed matter play an exclusive role in a microscopic investigation of "where atoms are and how atoms do" in a wide variety of research fields such as solid state physics, chemistry, biology, material-, earth-, polymer- and medical-sciences, ranging from fundamental-applied science through industrial application. On the other hand, complementariness of these two probes, neutrons for nucleus and magnetic moment while X-rays for electron clouds, is essentially important to enhance a contrast of targeted atoms from others in their positions and motions.
A brief history of development of such Japanese large facilities is followed by introduction of the current world-leading facilities and instruments such as SPring-8 (synchrotron, 8GeV) and JRR-3 (reactor-based neutron, 20MW) in full operation, and JSNS (accelerator-based neutron, 1MW) under construction. Several highlights leading a forefront of science are represented from materials science, nanoscience, and life science intensively studied on these large facilities and/or in international collaboration with foreign major facilities. A future plan of new source/facility will be given to open up a new opportunity in science.






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