by Jeremy Rumsey

The hybrid spectrometer, or HYSPEC, beam line 14B at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source has a new look. Taking the place of the fine radial collimator, HYSPEC’s new wide angle polarizing super mirror array drastically improves and increases the number of ways neutrons can image materials, enabling users to perform three dimensional polarization analysis of neutron excitations.

Built by scientists and engineers at the Paul Sherrer Institut in Switzerland, and characterized at the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source, the array consists of 960 supermirrors distributed in a 60 degree arc. Each mirror is covered in a multilayered coating of iron, cobalt, and vanadium alloys, allowing the mirrors to selectively reflect specific neutron states while filtering out others.

“When the neutron scatters off the sample there are a variety of interactions that can take place,” said HYSPEC Instrument Scientist Barry Winn. “Some involve spin flips, some don’t. Some orient in different directions. So we need the ability to filter the scattered beam, and now we have it.” The HYSPEC team has already identified experiments for this new instrument feature.

They hope to begin using the supermirror in September 2015. 

+ View more photos of the super mirror