Interview with Dr. Margarita Russina: Looking forward to the new science (Part 1)
The first user experiment is coming up soon and the scientists are curious about the results. Before that, Dr. Margarita Russina took the time to speak about the NEAT project and its correlated research.
Dr. Russina, two years ago the first chambers for the NEAT upgrade arrived here at the HZB. Now, the first measurements at NEAT II were done successfully. How do you feel after such a long time of planning and building?
I feel very happy, for sure! There were many happy moments this summer. In particular, when we opened the shutter and took the first spectra on June 13. It was a big celebration for the entire team. Or the first time we filled the sample environment with nitrogen and helium and dropped the temperature, it was quite a happy moment. Finally, there is no more waiting and we can do the measurements now. We are all looking forward to the new science. I am quite excited about it.
A NEAT chamber is transferred into the building. By Sibylle Grunze
You sound very satisfied with NEAT.
Absolutely yes, I am quite satisfied. By now we measured the intensity of NEAT that is determined by the flux which is coming to the sample. It shows that the intensity is in the range of 70 percent of the world’s best which is IN5 at the Institut Laue-Langevin in France. Furthermore, if we count the larger detector angle coverage, we are at the same level as the world leader.
What do you like the most about NEAT?
The good intensity, so how many neutrons are arriving at the sample. As I mentioned before, we already did the first measurements. It was very satisfying to see how quick measurements can be and that we can maybe do something new with smaller samples or a higher resolution.
There are time-of-flight spectrometers at other neutron sources. Why did you not just copy another, existing instrument?
Copy another instrument? Why? Indeed, before we designed the concept of NEAT, we went around, looked at other instruments and learned. Learned from colleagues, learned what was done properly and what can be improved. We tried to consider all of it in the design of NEAT. Maybe this is why NEAT is working so well now.
What was your first thought after being told that the reactor BER II will already be shut down at 2020?
Of course, it made me sad. I think that neutrons are a big opportunity for the center. Right now, we are starting the cooperation with various groups at BESSY. There is a lot of common ground, an excellent science that can be done together. But the decision was made and I cannot influence it. So I have to live with it.
How did you manage to motivate yourself and your team to finish this challenging project nevertheless?
You know, I am so-called Russian-German. I mean from these old-fashioned Germans who went to Russia two hundred years ago. And my grandmother always told me: When you start something, you have to finish it. This is one point. Another point is that we wanted to see NEAT working and explore new science. It does not matter how short the time is. We must exploit it because a lot of money and effort went into the instrument construction. This is how to motivate yourself.
Good overlook: Dr. Russina is watching the NEAT installation. By Sibylle Grunze