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Penn State Radiation Science & Engineering Center Receives New Neutron Science Device

Penn State received a $9.8-million small angle neutron scattering (SANS) device. Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, a research institute in Germany, donated the device to the university.

The donation makes Penn State the first and only United States university to have SANS capability. The device is useful for determining the structure of organic materials like polymers and biomolecules. Traditional X-ray techniques don’t provide the proper imaging needed for structures with varying densities.

The device functions through the use of a neutron beamline, which allows the analysis of samples that are as small as a few nanometers. Researchers can also adjust which parameters of a sample they want to track and record.

The SANS device will be used as part of the Radiation Science and Engineering Center (RSEC) alongside the Breazeale Reactor. Students and faculty from across disciplines including the College of Engineering, the Materials Research Institute, the Huck Institute of Life Sciences, and more will have opportunities to collaborate with the RSEC to conduct research.

It will also be utilized by the Nuclear Science User Facilities, which is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy. The program allows researchers to apply to use nuclear facilities they don’t have access to.

To learn more about the RSEC, visit its website. Additional information about the SANS device can be found in a release from Penn State.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a senior studying immunology and infectious disease. She is from Mifflintown, PA, a tiny town south of State College. She is fueled by dangerous amounts of caffeine and dreams of smashing the patriarchy. Any questions or discussion about Taylor Swift’s best songs can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter or emailed to [email protected]

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