Illustrator: Nathan Armistead
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is moving forward with plans for a third neutron source: the Second Target Station (STS) at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), to address emerging materials science challenges.
STS will offer up to 1,000x higher performance than existing sources, enable faster data collection as well as the study of smaller samples, and will make it possible to study complex advanced materials in realistic environments like polymers which are vital to consumer products like detergents, filters, and batteries; quantum matter which is important to the development of better sensors, data protection, and computing; biological materials fueling the development of better medications and biofuels ; and structural materials that make automobiles, airplanes, buildings, and bridges safer and more efficient.
When introduced to the plans for the STS, I was amazed by the variety and depth of potential discoveries it will be capable of, combined with the precise engineering that will be required to build this monumental facility. In an attempt to capture this combination of factors, I decided to explore a hybrid rendering style, combining blueprint-like lines and plan-view projection, idealized semirealistic lighting/texturing effects, and a conceptual depiction of the flow of neutrons through the system. —Armistead