Neutron Scattering

Neutron scattering is our primary experimental technique to probe the atomic and magnetic order and spin dynamics of quantum systems.

Neutrons have many characteristics which make them exceptionally suitable to study nuclear and magnetic phenomena in condensed matter. First, neutrons have zero charge, which allows them to penetrate deeply into the atomic nuclei without having to overcome a Coulomb repulsion. Second, neutron wavelengths can be comparable to interatomic spacing of the scattering system, yielding accurate information about the atomic structure. Third, neutron energies can be comparable to excitation energies in condensed matter. Therefore, one can extract information about the dynamics of the system by measuring the change in energy of a neutron beam after interacting with the system. Finally, neutrons have magnetic moment with spin S =1/2 and, as a result, can interact magnetically with unpaired electrons in the system and reveal information about the magnetic structure. Neutrons will 'see' the distribution, direction, and magnitude of magnetic moments.

Our experiments have been performed at several neutron scattering facilities throughout the World, including ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, UK; Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France; Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin in Berlin, Germany; Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland; and NIST Center for Neutron Research in Maryland, USA.