ILL High Flux Reactor, the world's most intense continuous neutron source

Laue-Langevin Institute

The Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) is a research reactor located in Grenoble, France. It was founded in 1967 (and renovated between 1993 and 1995) and is named after two prominent scientists: the German physicist Max von Laue and the French physicist Paul Langevin.

It is the world's most intense continuous neutron source, with a thermal power of 58.3 megawatts using a uranium-graphite core to generate the neutrons. The reactor operates continuously for 50 days, followed by a refueling outage. A longer outage is planned every year to allow for maintenance work. There are normally 4 cycles in a year, providing 200 days for science.

However, it is scheduled to close in 2024 and the scientific community is working to develop a new neutron source to replace the ILL. This new source is expected to be operational in the early 2030s.

In total, some 1,800 researchers from 45 countries use the neutron source for 800 experiments each year.

ILL reactor room

ILL has been used for a variety of research:

  • Materials science: The study of the properties of materials at the atomic level. This research has led to the development of new materials for use in a variety of applications, including medicine, energy, and electronics.
  • Biology: The study of the structure and function of biological molecules. This research has led to a better understanding of life processes and has also been used to develop new drugs and treatments for diseases.
  • Chemistry: Study of the properties of chemicals and their interactions, and development of new catalysts and other chemicals for use in a variety of industries.
  • Physics: The study of the fundamental properties of matter and energy allowing a deeper understanding of the universe and the development of new technologies including nuclear magnetic resonance, single photon emission computed tomography, and radiotherapy.

The ILL is an important facility for scientific research. It has contributed to the advancement of a variety of fields and has had a significant impact on people's lives. ILL is a testament to the power of nuclear science and its potential to benefit humanity.

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