Science Highlights

Making the gray cells happy

Depressive disorders are among the most frequent illnesses worldwide. The causes are complex and to date only partially understood. The trace element lithium appears to play a role. Using neutrons of the research neutron source at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), a research team has now proved that the distribution of lithium in the brains of depressive people is different from the distribution found in healthy humans.

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Non-Destructive Characterisation of Fossil Echinoids

Researchers of BNC developed a state-of-the-art combination of three-dimensional surface and volumetric digital imaging techniques, as well as position-resolved element composition analysis by PGAI, to scrutinize the rocks containing fossils of the Parascutella gibbercula sea urchins.

The methodology used in the described study opens new perspectives in the understanding of the sedimentation conditions of the sea bottom.

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Monte-Carlo calculated detector response functions to unfold radiative neutron capture spectra

A complete set of detector response functions, i.e. the gamma spectra corresponding to incremental gamma-ray energies up to 12 MeV, were obtained for the Budapest PGAA facility by geant4 Monte-Carlo simulations and were used to unfold the experimental prompt-gamma spectra, for use in nuclear physics.

The unfolding successfully removed the continuous Compton-background and the escape peaks related to a full-energy peak but preserved the shape and area of the full-energy peak itself.

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Structuring of nanoparticle suspension probed by neutron reflectivity

The behaviour of colloidal particles at water-solid interfaces is relevant in material science, food processing, medicine and environmental engineering. A team from the University of Geneva with researchers from the Budapest Neutron Centre used neutron reflectivity to study colloidal silica nanoparticle suspensions near the (negatively) like-charged native-oxide-covered surface of Si. Intriguingly, the nanospheres develop a self-organised damped, oscillatory concentration profile normal to the interface, as demonstrated in the figure.

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From Contrast Agents to Drug Delivery: Research with Neutrons Enables Advances in Biomedical Research

Biocompatible iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) offer great potential for biomedical applications, both in terms of imaging and therapy. More rapid progress in researching IONPs now looks promising by using a new method combination developed by a team of Jülich researchers using neutrons as a probe.

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Designing the next generation of electronics using neutron science

An international team are using neutron science to help develop the next generation of electronic devices. The researchers from the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL) and other institutions are experimenting with the design of semiconductors, which form an essential component of modern computer chips. They hope their studies could herald the future of electronics through the use of organic materials and bespoke designs.

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