nSoft operations will include four primary activities, designed to develop new measurement science while impacting U.S. based industry through increased scientific capacity and measurement capability. These activites are:
1) Research projects executed by staff members in collaboration with members that result in technology and knowledge transfer to member institutions.
2) Exploratory measurements through a rapid, predictable access mode
3) Member-led non-proprietary research programs without peer review through an "expert user" membership tier
4) On-site training in instrumentation and measurement methods
The foundation of research within nSoft will be the nSoft research programs, where innovation is performed collaboratively through interaction with the members, collaborative participation in measurements, and transfer of technology and measurement knowledge to member institutions. Research projects will focus on measurement issues that are not currently addressed by non-neutron based probes. Research is designed to be non-proprietary, and focuses on a specific class of problems that span multiple industrial sectors.
Exploratory and rapid access times are provided as a method to expand the neutron-based measurement programs of member institutions on rapid and predictable time scales. In this mode, nSoft resources are allocated toward research areas that are considered too high risk to invest in expert user allocations or to enhance the quality of proposals to a user program. In contrast to exploratory and rapid access research, expert user access provides a mechanism for members to conduct their own non-proprietary research programs. nSoft staff are made available to assist in instrument and sample environment setup and experimental execution. In addition to meeting the goals stated above, these levels of access provide a mechanism to take innovation from initial conception to realized impact.