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Swedish in-kind deliveries to ESS are part of the Swedish membership fee to ESS, and can amount to SEK 30 million per year during the period 2023 - 2025.
The condition for being able to deliver in-kind to ESS is that the delivery is included in ESS's project plan and budget and that it is based on an agreement between ESS and the delivering partner.
Swedish researchers who wish to deliver personnel or equipment in-kind during 2023 must therefore contact ESS immediately to discuss details regarding scope, timetable, in kind value, risks, acceptance criteria, etc.
New Swedish projects at ESS
During the period 2021–2025, part of the Swedish contribution to ESS will be used for in-kind deliveries, i.e. technical equipment or personnel, from Swedish universities to ESS. A total of SEK 150 million can finance in-kind projects. The FREIA laboratory in Uppsala was granted funding in 2021. The FREIA laboratory in Uppsala received grants in 2021.
During 2022 four different projects received grants. Participating in these new projects are Lund University, Uppsala University, KTH and the Lund Institute of advanced neutron and X-ray science (LINXS).
Deuteration Lab Services
Leading this in-kind project is Wolfgang Knecht, Head of Lund Protein Production Platform (LP3) and Node Director of Protein Production Sweden (PPS). The project aims to support researchers, mainly within the field of life sciences, with deuterated and crystallised molecules when studying material with different neutron techniques.
“The most exciting thing about our in-kind project is that it will enable Swedish researchers to do first life science experiments at ESS,” says Wolfgang. “For us, it is a great contribution to creating a vibrant gateway environment for both MAX IV and ESS in the laboratories of Lund Protein Production Platform (LP3).”
Hydrogen is one of the most abundant chemical substances in the universe and readily bonds with other elements to form molecules. The most well-known of these molecules is perhaps H2O, water. Thus, hydrogen in water and in other biomolecules is part of all living organisms on earth. Deuteration is the process where hydrogen, an atom that has only a proton in its nucleus, is exchanged against a hydrogen isotope called deuterium, which has one proton and one neutron in its nucleus.
The beam of neutrons used in the experiments at instruments at ESS are differentiating very sensitively between hydrogen and deuterium. Therefore, exchanging hydrogen with deuterium in different molecules, such as proteins and lipids, makes them visible for the neutrons during the experiments and measurements at ESS.
“LP3 is hosting the national research infrastructure Protein Production Sweden (PPS), the FragMAX screening platform of MAX IV and the biological arm of the Deuteration and Macromolecular Crystallisation (DEMAX) platform of ESS. All are providing Swedish researchers with a multitude of tools for producing high-quality science,” concludes Wolfgang Knecht.
Commissioning scientist to the instrument ODIN
Leading this in-kind project is Stephen Hall, Senior Lecturer at Lund Faculty of Engineering (LTH). The project will support the development and commissioning of the instrument ODIN at ESS through a dedicated scientist. ODIN, which will be one of the first operational instruments at ESS, is a multi-purpose imaging instrument providing world-leading neutron imaging with spatial resolutions down to the micrometre range.
“Being part of the early stages of the project will be a fantastic opportunity,” says Stephen. “It will give us the ability to explore the new possibilities afforded by the ESS source and instrumentation in the exploration of materials and structures in both three and four (3D + time) dimensions.”
The project will support the development of the instrument to ensure scientific results are possible from day one. Neutron tomography at ESS will provide a new understanding of materials in terms of microstructures, compositions, and properties in 3D. Furthermore, it will be possible to explore how materials behave as they evolve under different environmental conditions, such as 4D imaging. Odin will provide new opportunities in terms of high spatial and temporal resolution and wavelength-dependent imaging, giving access to new details about material properties and processes.
“We will exploit the possibilities in investigations of the behaviour of materials, including metals, rocks, batteries and food,” Stephen explains. “We will also, with collaborators, explore the internal structures of cultural heritage, paleontological and extra-terrestrial objects and materials.”
Development of neutron polarisation capacity
Co-leader of this in-kind project is Max Wolff, Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University. The project aims to produce key polarisation equipment for several instruments at ESS.
“This project is one of the main keys to contributing directly to improving the performance of ESS and taking the best benefit of its capabilities,” says Max. “Getting closely involved in several instrument projects and contributing in this way to the largest infrastructure investment in the Nordic countries is very exciting.”
At ESS, neutrons are generated when protons collide with the tungsten target in a process called spallation. Polarising neutrons means that all their spins (magnetic moments) become aligned, similar to the needles of all compasses pointing north. Once polarised, the strength and direction of the magnetic induction in materials can be measured. Such knowledge is required to understand high-performance magnetic materials used in generators and electrical motors required for a sustainable future. Moreover, polarised neutrons also allow exploiting specifics of the interactions of neutrons with matter, to provide more control over and higher quality of the experiments done in areas such as battery or medical research. To polarise neutrons, special equipment, such as mirror cavities, gas cells, spin flippers, and guide fields are required.
“In this project, we will develop capabilities for polarisation analysis by building on our expertise in the Super ADAM project,” explains Max. “Polarised neutrons become increasingly important, not only for the study of magnetism but also for the analysis of spin incoherent scattering, which allows for better experiments. The project will allow Uppsala University to tightly connect to ESS, build competence and be prepared to take the best benefit of the facility, once up and running.”
Commissioning of the NMX Macromolecular Diffractometer
The leader of this in-kind project is Esko Oksanen, Researcher at Lund University. The project aims to construct and commission the NMX Macromolecular Diffractometer, an instrument dedicated to macromolecular crystallography.
“The NMX Macromolecular Diffractometer is the only instrument at ESS dedicated to structural biology,” Esko explains. “This is an area of research that is topical and urgent, for example for drug discovery and vaccine development. Sweden has a strong scientific community in structural biology, so it is therefore exciting to involve this community even more in the instrument project.”
Determining hydrogen atom positions faster than before, from smaller crystals and larger unit cells than before, will allow studies of more challenging systems, such as transmembrane proton pumps. This will yield improved understanding of not only fundamental biological processes, such as energy production in cells, but also the way in which pharmaceuticals bind their target proteins.
“Swedish involvement in the NMX project will help bring Lund University and ESS closer together and help create a critical mass of methods development expertise in Lund,” says Esko. “This strengthens the profile of Lund University in neutron structural biology and ensures the future scientific success of the NMX instrument.”