Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Center for Structural Molecular Biology

The Center for Structural Molecular Biology (CSMB) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) develops instrumentation and methods for structural studies of biomolecular systems. The centerpiece of the CSMB is a small angle neutron scattering (SANS) instrument, Bio-SANS, which is in operation at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and is dedicated for studies of biological systems. The high-performance cold source at HFIR provides Bio-SANS with a high signal to noise ratio ideal for biological scattering. This capability complements capabilities at other DOE OBER facilities for structural biology. The CSMB also supports the Bio-deuteration Laboratory located at the Spallation Neutron Source, for cloning, gene expression, purification and characterization of labeled biological macromolecules. The CSMB welcomes interest from researchers from a wide variety of scientific disciplines including Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Computational Sciences.

Location: High Flux Isotope Reactor and Spallation Neutron Source, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, USA

Point of contact: Paul Langan (
Access procedure:  Beam time is granted through Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s HFIR/SNS general user program, which is open to all. In addition, opportunities are available for extended collaboration through programs such as internships and postdoctoral programs.  Please call or email the beamline scientists if you have any questions or want to discuss the feasibility of your experiment.

The instruments at HFIR and SNS are available free of charge with the understanding that researchers publish their results, making them available to the scientific community. The facilities also are available for fee-based proprietary research.


Links to science highlights:

Spallation Neutron Source (SNS)

SNS is a one-of-a-kind research facility that provides the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world for scientific research and industrial development. SNS produces neutrons with an accelerator-based system that delivers short (microsecond) proton pulses to a target/moderator system, where neutrons are produced by a process called spallation. State-of-the-art experiment stations provide a variety of capabilities for researchers across a broad range of disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, materials science, and biology.

Website: Spallation Neutron Source

High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR)

Operating at 85 MW, HFIR is the highest flux reactor-based source of neutrons for research in the United States, and it provides one of the highest steady-state neutron fluxes of any research reactor in the world. The thermal and cold neutrons produced by HFIR are used to study physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, and biology. The intense neutron flux, constant power density, and constant-length fuel cycles are used by more than 500 researchers each year for neutron scattering research into the fundamental properties of condensed matter.

Website: High Flux Isotope Reactor

Co-located Facilities

Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility(OLCF)

OLCF was established at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2004 with the mission of accelerating scientific discovery and engineering progress by providing outstanding computing and data management resources to high-priority research and development projects.
Website: Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility

Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNSM)

CNMS integrates nanoscale science with neutron science; synthesis science; and theory, modeling, and simulation. Operating as a national user facility, the CNMS supports a multidisciplinary environment for research to understand nanoscale materials and phenomena.

Website: Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences