Los Alamos National Laboratory

A Look at MaRIE

MaRIE will be the first materials research center to have high-energy, high-repetition-rate, coherent x-ray capability along with charged-particle imaging. It will create any number of extreme environments and allow in situ measurements of a sample.

MaRIE will have two accelerators.

The LANSCE proton accelerator (existing) will provide a high-current beam of 800-megaelectronvolt protons for irradiating samples and generating neutrons. The protons can also be used for proton microscopy, which can map density variations within a sample. Proton microscopy is uniquely suited to imaging micron-scale voids within dense metal and to following void formation and evolution.

The electron linear accelerator (proposed—only the beam line is shown here) will create a pulsed beam of relativistic electrons that, when sent through a long line of magnets known as an undulator, will emit coherent x-rays that can image the microstructure in the sample’s interior. The accelerator/undulator combination is commonly called a free-electron laser. MaRIE’s would be a highenergy x-ray free-electron laser (XFEL).

Picture of MaRIE facility.

MaRIE will have three experimental halls.

In the Multi-Probe Diagnostic Hall (MPDH) (proposed), samples will be exposed primarily to high-stress environments. The XFEL and proton beams will be directed to any of several user stations and trained simultaneously on a single sample to correlate what’s happening to the sample’s atoms and to its microstructure. Standard laser or electron diffraction and scattering techniques will measure surface and bulk-scale properties. Making in situ measurements with different size (or time) resolutions simultaneously will make the MPDH unique among materials facilities and will be extremely valuable. For example, nanometer-size dislocations within a material can coalesce into cracks 100 nanometers long, which over time (seconds to years) grow into visible fault lines.

The Fission and Fusion Materials Facility (F3) (proposed) will be unique in that it will be able to create a variety of high-flux, high-energy neutron environments that will mimic the extreme neutron environment in next-generation fission and/or fusion reactors. Protons from the LANSCE accelerator will be directed to a tungsten target in the Materials Test Station (MTS) (currently under construction) to generate the neutrons. Scientists at F3 will use photons to study samples in place.

The Making, Measuring, and Modeling Materials Facility (M4) (proposed) will enable controlled synthesis of complex materials (including chemical synthesis, thin film and crystal growth, and microstructural processing) and nondestructive, multiscale characterization of a sample’s thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties. Characterization during synthesis will permit control of the nucleation and growth of material defects and interfaces. Materials can also be characterized during exposure to extreme environments (scaled down from those at F3 and MPDH), and researchers will be able to watch defects and interfaces evolve in extremes. M4 will also have a theory, modeling, and computation (TMC) centerpiece and will serve as a gateway to other Laboratory capabilities.

Schematic representation of an experiment being conducted at F3. The high-energy proton beam (pink) will enter the building and strike a tungsten target (green), producing copious neutrons with energies similar to what’s produced in an advanced nuclear reactor. The neutrons will strike the target (red cube), and their effect on the sample’s microstructure will be found by analyzing the diffracted x-rays (blue circle).

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