Condensed matter physics: approval and support of projects

News, 04 February 2021

On 25 January, the 53rd meeting of the Programme Advisory Committee for Condensed Matter Physics of JINR was held as a video conference. Members of the Committee were informed about the implementation of the recommendations of the previous PAC meeting, about the decisions of autumn sessions of the Scientific Council and the Committee of Plenipotentiaries of the Governments of the JINR Member States.

JINR Director G. V. Trubnikov welcomed the PAC experts. He noted that the project number one is the IBR-2 reactor with its spectrometer complex. The project of a new FLNP neutron source is under active discussion. It is supposed to be put into operation in the next seven years. PAC Chairman D. Nagy cordially congratulated the new Director of the Institute and wished him successful work at a new position. JINR Scientific Leader V. A. Matveev noted the importance of the PAC experts’ opinion for the Institute’s directorate. He highlighted that the JINR laboratories are actively working even in the difficult conditions of the pandemic.

V. N. Shvetsov spoke about the work progress in the creation of the neutron source, and N. Kučerka reported on the construction of the SOLCRYS laboratory in Poland. D. P. Kozlenko presented development plans of the IBR-2 spectrometer complex in 2021 – 2025. V. A. Turchenko reported on the development prospects of the RTD diffractometer. D. Chudoba spoke about the FLNP user programme. The scientific report “Experimental studies and multiscale modeling of latent tracks in radiation-resistant insulators” was made by V. A. Skuratov. We asked PAC Chairman Professor Dénes Nagy to sup up the results of the PAC meeting.

“V. N. Shvetsov in his report on the work progress in the creation of the new neutron source spoke about great work done together with colleagues from Russian institutes and other JINR laboratories. How has PAC evaluated the progress in this project?”

“Professor Shvetsov presented a detailed report on the progress of work on the new JINR neutron source in FLNP, which contained a roadmap for 2018 – 2036. It is the period when the new source is expected to be put into operation to a full extent. The design details of the new neutron reactor IBR-2 (the number of fuel elements, the fuel assembly, and even the accurate fuel composition) have not been fully determined so far. Discussions with interested institutes and companies are still underway. Some aspects of the new source (cyclic changes in the reactor fluctuations, the effect of delayed neutrons on the signal-to-background ration at some spectrometers, etc.) are only being studied at the IBR-2. This work requires a special IBR-3 division to be organized. PAC appreciated the report by V. N. Shvetsov. At the same time, PAC believes that the amount of work necessary for achieving major stages and results in accordance with the project’s plan requires speeding up the process.”

“The report by N. Kučerka on the progress in the creation of the SOLCRYS synchrotron centre in Poland was also detailed. The project is passing the equator…”

“Just like at the previous meeting, Norbert Kučerka presented a detailed report on the work done. A small delay in the planned schedule took place this year because of the unforeseen pandemic. However, it turned out to be manageable within the entire project schedule. A so-called input device (synchrotron radiation source) of beams SOLCRYS will be a superconducting wiggler. PAC paid special attention to the presented beam direction options, the final specifications of which are expected to be proposed in 2021. PAC welcomed the progress in the creation of the SOLCRYS laboratory. At the same time, PAC recommended paying closer attention to the construction schedule of the laboratory and its design features. Moreover, PAC asked to submit regular reports on the work progress in the future.”

“D. P. Kozlenko and V. A. Turchenko devoted their reports to the IBR-2 spectrometers, their modernization, and the creation of new devices. D. Chudoba spoke about changes in the IBR-2 user programme during the pandemic. I think that these reports, just like other presentations, evoke interest among the committee’s experts?”

“All materials mentioned above have been undoubtedly well received by the PAC members. The Committee fully supported the announced modernization and proposed measures at the spectrometer complex of the IBR-2 setup. As for the report by Dorota Chudoba, PAC supported further development of the FLNP user programme and recommended that it be expanded. PAC highly evaluated the introduction of a new web application that has made access for users, reviewers, and chairs of expert committees far simpler compared to the previous website of reactor’s users. Of course, it will take some time to transfer old offers and reports from the old system to the new one.”

“Unfortunately, the poster session of young scientists was not held…”

“It is a real loss, and I feel that we cannot miss the poster session once again. To be honest, I am not too optimistic about the format of the next PAC meeting. I hardly believe that the pandemic will be over around the world by June and we will be able to organize a traditional in-person meeting in Dubna. Nevertheless, the only positive effect of the pandemic is that we are currently all familiar with various videoconferencing tools many of which allow organizing the poster session with almost the same efficiency as on the spot. Of course, we need far much time for such remote poster sessions compared to real ones but it can be arranged. Our young colleagues need contacts, criticism, and, first of all, the support of the PAC members.”

“It seemed like the atmosphere of the meeting remained friendly and constructive, despite the online format, just like at real meetings in Dubna. Do you agree?”

“I think exactly the same. In many ways, the online format turned out to be even more efficient (for example, it is possible to switch from a presentation to the next one much faster). The same is true in terms of friendliness and constructiveness of the atmosphere. As you can see, I am really enthusiastic about the online format. Nevertheless, I cannot but admit that I also miss personal meetings, and I am looking forward to meeting with the entire Committee in Dubna as soon as possible.”

Olga Tarantina,
JINR Weekly Newspaper