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Paul Scherrer Institut PSI KuR - Kleinwinkelstreuung & Reflektometrie
PSI NUM LNS LDM SINQ DUO   phone & e-mail

E-Mail: joachim.kohlbrecher@psi.ch

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SANS I (technical data)
Small Angle Neutron Scattering Instrument at SINQ

J. Kohlbrecher and W. Wagner, The new SANS instrument at the Swiss spallation source SINQ, J. Appl. Cryst. (2000). 33, 804-806

V.K. Aswal, B. van den Brandt, P. Hautle, J. Kohlbrecher, J.A. Konter, A. Michels, F.M. Piegsa, J. Stahn, S. Van Petegem, O. Zimmer, Characterisation of the polarised neutron beam at the small angle scattering instrument SANS-I with a polarised proton target, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A (2008), doi:10.1016/j.nima.2007.11.062

Instrument responsibles:

Joachim Kohlbrecher,Tel.: +41 56 310 3165
Jorge Gavilano,Tel.: +41 56 310 5473
SANS instrument: Tel.:+41 56 310 3186

Publication Policy

All publications that are produced based on results obtained at SINQ should be registered by the aid of the Digital User Office DUO. Please follow the link 'Register Publications' from the DUO main menu. It is expected that PSI staff members acting as local contacts during your experiments at SINQ are mentioned as co-authors in any publication that results from data obtained at SINQ. In addition a certain acknowledgement statement is required from the PSI directorate to ensure the finding of the papers in bibliographic databases, see below.

All publications based on SINQ data should contain the following text part:
'This work is based on experiments performed at the Swiss spallation neutron source SINQ, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland.'
Due to the EU funding guidelines additionally to the above sentence those papers that are based on results obtained from an experiment that was funded within th EU NMI3 access program must contain the following sentence: 'This research project has been supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme through the 'Research Infrastructures' action of the 'Capacities' Programme, Contract No: CP-CSA_INFRA-2008-1.1.1 Number 226507-NMI3'.

Technical Data

neutron guide cold neutron guide "1RNR16", curved, Ni-coated, 50x50 mm², l > 0.42 nm
monochromator helical slot velocity selector
wavelength 0.45 nm < l < 4 nm,
resolution Dl / l = 10 % (FWHM), variation by tilting possible
Q-range 6 x 10-3 nm-1 < Q < 10.5 nm-1
detector 2D ³He-detector with 128 x 128 elements of 7.5 x 7.5 mm²
distances collimators 1 m, 1.4 m, 2 m, 3 m, 4.5 m, 6 m, 8 m, 11 m, 15 m 18 m, at 1m canonical neutron guide
neutron lenses

refractive optical lenses as neutron focussing device
Fig a1, Fig a2, Fig a3, Fig a4

sample-detector distances 1 to 20 m continuously
lateral displacement 0 to 0.5 m
SANSPol option for wavelength between 0.47nm and 1nm the incident beam can be polarized
stroboscopic option for stroboscopic (cyclic) experiments time resolutions down to a few ms can be achieved


Sample Environments

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To fullfil the large variety of experimental needs of the users we have given high priority to a maximum versatility of the sample environment. One standard sample set-up is a sample table with x,y,z,w positioning plus (q)-goniometer. On this table various sample environments can be mounted and positioned. For biological and chemical samples we supply a sample changer for cuevettes and solid samples which can be temperature controlled between +5°C and +150°C. We have realised a high pressure cell for liquids up to 5 kbar. Furthermore, the sample table has also be used to position special equipment of the users, like a cryomagnet or a special holder for holographic gratings, rheometers, etc.
A second sample set-up is a vacuum chamber, which is directly connected to the collimator and detector tubes, so that the SANS can be operated at about 5 x 10-2 mbar in a single vacuum system without windows. If better vacuum down to 10-6 mbar or ambient pressure is needed at the sample position, it is possible to insert thin aluminium or sapphire windows at the entrance and exit of the chamber. The chamber is large enough to carry an electromagnet and a sample changer with an optional heated sample position up to 750°C is available.
All standard sample environments are fully remotely controlled by the SINQ instrument control software SICS which enables the user to run automatic scans in his experiments.

sample table x-y-z-w positioning plus an optional (q)-goniometer , all axes are remote controled
vacuum chamber
  • operation at about 5 x 10-2 mbar in a single vacuum system without windows
  • at 10-6 mbar or ambient pressure it is possible to insert thin aluminium or sapphire windows at the entrance and exit of the chamber
  • chamber is large enough to carry an electromagnet
sample holder for working in air
high temperature precision
temperature controlled sample changer (MFU)


  • electromagnet matches into vacuum chamber and can operate either under vacuum condition or at ambient pressure
  • flexible pole gap , pole gap width between 30 mm and 145 mm
  • pole diameter of 205 mm (also tapered pole caps available soon)
  • H=1.1 Tesla perpendicular to the neutron beam
  • sample holder for solid and liquid samples
  • only one sample position
  • for zero field measurements the permanent magnet can be taken out of the holder
activated samples Users who whish using this setup have to contact the instrument responsible J. Kohlbrecher (joachim.kohlbrecher@psi.ch) first, before submitting their proposals to SINQ
sample changer for vacuum chamber
high temperature furnace

T < 1500 C, sample can be translated and rotated inside the furnace
Fig a1, Fig a2, Fig a3, Fig a4, Fig a5
Users who are interested in using this furnace should contact the instrument responsible J. Kohlbrecher (joachim.kohlbrecher@psi.ch), before submitting their proposals to SINQ.

11 Tesla Cryomagnet

B < 11 Tesla, 1.5 K > T > 300 K
Fig b1, Fig b2
A collaboration with financial contributions from the Universities of Birmingham, U.K., Zürich and Warwick, U.K., together with PSI and the U.K. EPSRC, has taken delivery of a high horizontal-field cryomagnet, specially designed for neutron scattering, particularly SANS.
Users who are interested in using this magnet for their own experiments should contact either E.M. Forgan (E.M.Forgan@bham.ac.uk) or J. Kohlbrecher (joachim.kohlbrecher@psi.ch), before submitting their proposals to SINQ.

Additional features

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digital video camera versatile digital video camera which can be used to monitor the setup during the measurements
multifunctional data acquisition
  • A PC + National instruments PCI-6014 basic multifunctional data acquisition card + BNC-2120 connector block is available at the sample environment.
  • Specifications: 200 kS/s, 16-Bit, 8 Analog Input (with connections for a thermocouples and 4-wire resistors) , 2 analog outputs, 8 digital I/O lines, two 24-bit counters, digital triggering.
  • A overview of the available connections can be found here.
  • On the PC a server program is running that can communicate with the main SANS server (SICS). This allows for sending or receiving analogue and digital signals in synchronisation with the SANS measurements. The communication between the PC and the connector block is programmed in a LabView (version 6.1) environment.
  • Typical applications: sending trigger signals, read out temperature or another user-pecific parameters, data-logging, ...
  • Users who are interested in the feature should contact instrument responsible to check whether their application is feasible.


Interesting related web pages

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