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An Automated Sample Handling Workcell for the SNS Liquids Reflectometer

Award Information

Department of Energy
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2005 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Square One Systems Design, Inc.
3500 South Park Drive Jackson, WY 83001-9514
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2005
Title: An Automated Sample Handling Workcell for the SNS Liquids Reflectometer
Agency: DOE
Contract: DE-FG02-05ER86260
Award Amount: $99,968.00


78887 When completed, the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) will provide unprecedented opportunities for performing groundbreaking neutron science. Two reflectometers are planned for the SNS, one optimized for the measurement of liquid surfaces and the other for the measurement of magnetic materials. The SNS¿s high neutron flux will allow these instruments to collect complete data sets in minutes rather than hours. However, this same high flux will preclude users from entering the experimental area while the beam is on. Thus, to take full advantage of the SNS¿s power, special remote handling technologies must be developed. This project will develop an automated sample handling workcell, optimized for use with the liquid surface reflectometer. This novel robotic system will allow a sample to be introduced into the experimental area via a radiation-safe load port, check the sample¿s identity, mate it with a size-specific carrier, transfer it into an environmentally controlled experimental chamber, and accurately locate it on the reflectometer¿s goniostat. The flexible workcell also will have the capability to handle and precisely dispense liquids. Phase I will include mechanism design, creation of a complimentary controls architecture, and identification of appropriate sensor technologies. Bench-top testing of carrier prototypes and sensors will be performed. Phase I will culminate in a numerical simulation of the workcell in operation, with a goal of conclusively establishing the concept¿s feasibility. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The Automated Sample Handling Workcell should significantly increase the efficiency of SNS reflectometer experiments. Because of the inherent versatility of the robotic design, variations of the device should find application in other SNS experiments as well as at other high flux neutron sources now on the drawing board. Outside physics research, the system would be well suited for handling complex tasks in radioactive or other harsh environments. Specific examples might include the containerization of vitrified nuclear waste, required as part of the DOE Yucca Mountain project, and the demilitarization of obsolete nuclear weapons.

Principal Investigator:

Robert J. Viola

Business Contact:

Robert J. Viola
Small Business Information at Submission:

Square One Systems Design
615 East Hansen Street P.O. Box 2772 Jaskson, WY 83001

EIN/Tax ID: 721545402
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Experimental Facilities Division
Building 8600
Oak Ridge, TN 37831
Contact: John F. Ankner
Contact Phone: (865) 576-5122
RI Type: Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)