Advanced research requires advanced tools. Improved visualization techniques enable researchers to observe our world and universe better. From the very large to the very small, when science moves forward, it is often due to breakthrough improvements in the tools.
The Hubble Telescope, Voyager 2, and the Very Large Array allow us to directly and indirectly investigate the distant places and hidden elements of our universe. In the same way, a neutron source and its complmentary detection instruments, enable scientists to see and understand basic atomic structures and forces. It can be compared with a giant microscope for the study of different materials – from plastics and pharmaceuticals, to engines, and molecules. ESS is a significant step forward in the discovery process.
The European Spallation Source is one of the largest science and technology infrastructure projects being built today. The facility design and construction includes a linear proton accelerator, a heavy-metal target station, a large array of state-of-the-art neutron instruments, a suite of laboratories, and a supercomputing data management and software development center. In the context of its history and future as a scientific organisation, it is however more than an advanced research tool. It is a brand new organisation, being built from the ground up.
Europe’s need for an advanced, high-power neutron facility was articulated 20 years ago. The European Spallation Source is a pan-European project. It will be built by at least 17 European countries, with Sweden and Denmark as host nations. The ESS facility will be built in Lund, whilst the ESS Data Management and Software Centre Centre will be located in Copenhagen. Around two to three thousand guest researchers will carry out experiments at ESS each year. Most of the users will be based at European universities and institutes, others within industry.
The ESS research programme is being planned now. Scientists and engineers from more than 60 partner laboratories are working on updating and optimising the advanced technical design of the ESS facility, and at the same time are exploring and imagining how it will be used. These partner laboratories, universities and research institutes also take part in the construction phase, contributing human resources, knowledge, equipment, and financial suport.