Neutron Physics Laboratory (NPL)

Neutron Physics Laboratory (NPL) was founded in the frame of NPI in order to perform neutron-physics experiments according to the NPI research programme as well as to provide experimental facilities and research experience to external users in the open access mode. The neutron channels hired at nuclear research reactor LVR-15 are employed for materials research using neutron diffraction as well as for experiments in nuclear physics and for neutron activation analysis.

Fundamental and Applied Research with Neutrons

Research with help of neutrons is carried out at five horizontal thermal-neutron beam channels and at vertical irradiation channel of the medium power light water research reactor LVR-15 which are hired from the Research Centre Řež, Ltd. Neutron Physics Laboratory (NPL) uses moderate flux of neutrons for neutron scattering experiments, for nuclear analytical methods and for fundamental nuclear physics. The activity of the Neutron Physics Laboratory is focused basically in two directions:

Scattering of neutrons is used to study structure of materials in various size scales, from ordering of atoms in crystal lattice to microscopic heterogeneities on nano- and microscopic scales. High penetration of neutrons in most materials permits to carry out these tests non-destructively in the bulk and/or inside special sample environment (low and high temperatures, mechanical load).

Nuclear reactions of neutrons with matter are employed to analyze concentrations or concentration profiles of elements in solids as well as for fundamental nuclear physics.


NPL instruments at the research reactor LVR-15

Neutron beams at horizontal channels

Five neutron scattering instruments are installed at four horizontal thermal neutron channels (HK4 HK6, HK8 and HK9) and serve primarily to research in the fields of material science and solid state physics. In addition, one horizontal channel (HK3) hosts special beamline for neutron depth profiling, prompt gamma activation analysis and fundamental nuclear physics.

Neutron Activation Analysis at vertical irradiation channel

Nuclear spectroscopy techniques are exploited by Group of Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis. This group is involved in the development of advanced neutron and photon activation analysis procedures, in both non-destructive and radiochemical modes, and their applications in multidisciplinary research, namely in environmental, biomedical geo- and cosmo-chemical sciences.


Access for external users

Neutron Physics Laboratory offers open access to its facilities for external users. Modalities of the access are the following:

  1. Open access through the proposal system.
  2. By establishing a cooperation with a NPL scientist on a NPL-supported research programme (i.e. in-house experiments). Contact the particular instrument responsible in case of interest for such a cooperation. Nevertheless, also the in-house research projects should undergo the proposal submission procedure (long-term proposal).
  3. Using beamtime quota allocated to a particular facility in the frame of bilateral contracts.
  4. For commercial purposes, paid service can be provided. Users from private and industry sectors can arrange purchase of the access to NPL facilities. Test measurements and Feasibility studies can be offered free of charge before a commercial experiment is agreed.


European projects

CANAM-NPL infrastructure was a partner in several European infrastructure projects.

During 2015-2019, the H2020 project SINE2020 created an innovation-friendly environment around European neutron sources by coupling research and innovation. CANAM-NPL infrastructure was a partner in SINE2020 project, among others also in its work package "Industry Consultancy".

Many of the experiments carried out in the past using neutron beams were performed by research groups in the frame of international Open access supported by NMI3 projects in the frame of FP6 and FP7 programmes. For example, NPL participated in the access programme in the frame of FP7 NMI3-II project (Integrated Infrastructure Initiative for Neutron Scattering and Muon Spectroscopy).