SPEAR — ToF neutron reflectometer at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center
Lujan Neutron Scattering Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 87545, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
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Revised: 17 June 2011
Accepted: 27 September 2011
Published online: 11 November 2011
This article discusses the Surface ProfilE Analysis Reflectometer (SPEAR), a vertical scattering geometry time-of-flight reflectometer, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Lujan Neutron Scattering Center. SPEAR occupies flight path 9 and receives spallation neutrons from a polychromatic, pulsed (20Hz) source that pass through a liquid-hydrogen moderator at 20K coupled with a Be filter to shift their energy spectrum. The spallation neutrons are generated by bombarding a tungsten target with 800MeV protons obtained from an accelerator. The process produces an integrated neutron flux of ∼ 3.4×106 cm−2 s−1 at a proton current of 100μA. SPEAR employs choppers and frame overlap mirrors to obtain a neutron wavelength range of 4.5–16 Å. SPEAR uses a single 200mm long 3He linear position-sensitive detector with ∼ 2 mm FWHM resolution for simultaneous studies of both specular and off-specular scattering. SPEAR’s moderated neutrons are collimated into a beam which impinges from above upon a level sample with an average angle of 0.9° to the horizontal, to facilitate air-liquid interface studies. In the vertical direction, the beam converges at the sample position. The neutrons can be further collimated to the desired divergence by finely slitting the beam using a set of two 10B4C slit packages. The instrument is ideally suited to study organic and inorganic thin films with total thicknesses between 5 and 3000 Å in a variety of environments. Specifically designed sample chambers available at the instrument provide the opportunity to study biological systems at the solid-liquid interface. SPEAR’s unique experimental capabilities are demonstrated by specific examples in this article. Finally, an outlook for SPEAR and perspectives on future instrumentation are discussed.
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer, 2011