Mån 17 jun / År 42 / Nr 1 2024

Construction Begins at ESS

The European Spallation Source (http://europeanspallationsource.se) is one of the most forward-looking research facilities being built in Europe today. ESS will generate neutrons at an energy and quantity never seen before, by means of a proton accelerator terminating at a tungsten target. These neutrons, directed along various beam lines to perform selected imaging tasks and experiments, will be used to map the physical properties of materials at the atomic level. Shining this “light”, of sorts, at a magnitude 30 times that of existing neutron sources, ESS will provide the tools for analysis that scientists worldwide have been anticipating for 20 years. The next great discoveries in nanotechnology, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, materials engineering, and experimental physics will derive from research performed at ESS.

ESS Construction Moving Forward
Incorporated into the rural landscape of southern Sweden, the construction of the various ESS buildings and facilities comprises one of the largest active infrastructure projects in Europe. The creative vision of the building envelope and grounds, developed by the Henning Larsen Architects-led design consortium, will be coupled to the innovative technical design of ESS’s vast array of scientific machinery. The technical design work already represents one of the largest and broadest collaborations in Europe. The facility is expected to deliver its first neutrons in 2019 and be a major driver for innovation in science and industry in Europe and the region for generations.

ESS Critical to the Future of Life Sciences Research Worldwide
ESS will enable researchers to use neutrons to study a broad range of life science research materials, from polymers and pharmaceuticals, to membranes and molecules. Neutrons are ideal probes to study biological samples because they are very sensitive to hydrogen-rich materials, and even better reporters on hydrogen’s isotope, deuterium. Life science research today faces numerous challenges in the study of biological processes that occur on the atomic to cellular scale: large macromolecular complexes, the function of water in enzyme mechanisms and drug/substrate/product binding, and the role of biological macromolecules in membranes. These processes present themselves in diverse applications, from biofuels to cancer research. With a combination of unparalleled neutron production, and sophisticated support facilities, ESS will usher in a new golden age of life sciences research.