n_TOF: a new experimental area under way

On Thursday 23 May, CERN celebrated the laying of the foundation stone of the new experimental area (EAR-2) of n_TOF – CERN’s neutron source facility*. Under a mild sun, Rolf Heuer, CERN Director-General, Enrico Chiaveri, spokesperson for the n_TOF collaboration, Frédérick Bordry, head of CERN’s Technology Department, and other important figures at CERN raised their glasses to the launch of this new scientific adventure.


Rolf Heuer, CERN Director-General, driving a backhoe at the EAR-2 foundation stone laying ceremony.

“This new experimental area is very important as it shows the diversity of the science we are doing at CERN,” says Rolf Heuer. “One of the Laboratory’s goals is to build infrastructures and to do science that is unique, or at least world leading. And that is exactly what we are doing here.”

The n_TOF collaboration is taking advantage of the long shutdown (LS1) for the construction of its new facility, which is expected to receive its first beams in summer 2014. “In this area, we will be able to do measurements that cannot be done in any other neutron facility,” adds Enrico Chiaveri. “We will perform measurements for astrophysics, medical applications, etc. We are also poised to welcome new partners from all over the world, attracted by the incomparable possibilities offered by EAR-2.”

“It was a real challenge to fit the construction of this extension into LS1,” admits Frédérick Bordry, “but we managed it, after much negotiation with the n_TOF collaboration. This installation really is unique in the world and I’m sure that the extension will allow us to go even further as it will provide a greater neutron flux, allowing improved sensitivity for n_TOF’s various experiments.”

*For more details about the new n_TOF experimental area, read the article “CERN’s neutrons fly higher” published in the Bulletin 26-27/2012.

by Anaïs Schaeffer