Neutrons are a unique probe of the structure and dynamics for a great variety of systems studied today in many scientific disciplines. With the construction of the Low Energy Neutron Source (LENS) at CEEM, potential users in non-traditional fields such as chemistry and biology and industrial researchers can be made familiar with the power of neutron scattering techniques and acquire the experience needed to perform critical experiments of relevance to their fields. Major obstacles to expanding the neutron community in this country are the existing general unfamiliarity of US researchers with neutron techniques, a diminishing number of national and local facilities where novice users may be introduced to neutron scattering techniques, and the lack of flexible facilities for engineering and technical studies where new ideas for neutron science and engineering can be pursued. The variable pulse width offered by our source, its low cost, and its greatly reduced level of background radiation, put it in a unique position to have an impact on education and emergent technologies such as biomolecular engineering, chemistry, moderator development and instrumentation design.
At LENS these capabilities are also being used in the development of new technologies for neutron spin manipulation particularly through the use of high-temperature superconducting films to control the spatial variation of magnetic fields. LENS has also served a supporting role in a number of fundamental physics experiments ranging from measurements of neutron spin rotation and decay asymmetries to the testing of candidate detectors for dark matter and rare decay searches.