neutron diffraction


Also found in: Wikipedia.

Neutron diffraction

The phenomenon associated with the interference processes which occur when neutrons are scattered by the atoms within solids, liquids, and gases. The use of neutron diffraction as an experimental technique is relatively new compared to electron and x-ray diffraction, since successful application requires high thermal-neutron fluxes, which can be obtained only from nuclear reactors. These diffraction investigations are possible because thermal neutrons have energies with equivalent wavelengths near 0.1 nanometer and are therefore ideally suited for interatomic interference studies.

In the scattering of neutrons by atoms, there are two important interactions. One is the short-range, nuclear interaction of the neutron with the atomic nucleus. This interaction produces isotropic scattering because the atomic nucleus is essentially a point scatterer relative to the wavelengths of thermal neutrons. Strong resonances associated with the scattering process prevent any regular variation of the nuclear scattering amplitudes with atomic number. The other important process for the scattering of neutrons by atoms is the interaction of the magnetic moment of the neutron with the spin and orbital magnetic moments of the atom. See Scattering experiments (atoms and molecules), Scattering experiments (nuclei)

Since the nuclear scattering amplitudes for neutrons do not vary uniformly with atomic number, there are certain types of chemical structures which can be investigated more readily by neutron diffraction than by x-ray diffraction. Moreover, since neutron scattering is a nuclear process, when the scattering amplitude of an element is not favorable for a particular investigation, it is frequently possible to substitute an enriched isotope which has scattering characteristics that are markedly different. The most significant application of neutron diffraction in chemical crystallography is the structure determination of composite crystals which contain both heavy and light atoms, and the most important compounds in this general classification are the hydrogen-containing substances.

The interaction of the magnetic moment of the neutron with the orbital and spin moments in magnetic atoms makes neutron scattering a unique tool for the study of a wide variety of magnetic phenomena, because information is obtained on the magnetic properties of the individual atoms in a material. This interaction depends on the size of the atomic magnetic moment and also on the relative orientation of the neutron spin and of the atomic magnetic moment with respect to the scattering vector and with respect to each other. Consequently, detailed information can be obtained on both the magnitude and orientation of magnetic moments in any substance which displays magnetic properties.

The investigation of antiferromagnetic and ferrimagnetic substances is one of the most important applications of the neutron diffraction technique, because detailed information on the magnetic configuration in these systems cannot be obtained by other methods.

One of the most important uses of inelastic neutron scattering is the study of thermal vibrations of atoms about their equilibrium positions, because lattice vibration quanta, or phonons, can be excited or annihilated in their interactions with low-energy neutrons. The measurements provide a direct determination of the dispersion relations for the normal vibrational modes of the crystal and do not require the large corrections necessary in similar x-ray investigations. These measured dispersion relations furnish the best experimental information available on interatomic forces that exist in crystals. See Electron diffraction, Magnon, Neutron spectrometry

neutron diffraction

[′nü‚trän di‚frak·shən]
(physics)
The phenomenon associated with the interference processes which occur when neutrons are scattered by the atoms within solids, liquids, and gases.
References in periodicals archive ?
When you use neutron diffraction you dont have radiation damage, so you can do your study at room temperature, said McKenna.
Neutron diffraction is a popular non-destructive technique that has been used to map multi-axial components of stresses in engineering components [14-16], but its application is limited mostly by the need to take components to a neutron residual stress diffract meter.
They cover density, thermal properties, and the glass transition temperature of glasses; infrared spectroscopy; Raman spectroscopy; Brillouin light scattering; neutron diffraction techniques for structural studies; X-ray diffraction from glass; X-ray absorption fine structure (SAFS) spectroscopy and glass structure; nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy; advanced dipolar solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy; and atom probe tomography.
Yan, In-situ characterization by high-energy X-ray and neutron diffraction of micro-structural evolution of selected materials during thermo-mechanical processing [Doctor of Philosophy Thesis], School of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia, 2012, http://ro.
A more enhanced method for revealing the detail of a protein's structure than traditional X-rays, neutron diffraction holds great promise for improving drug design by enabling scientists to make better maps of proteins with more detail.
The team validated the reliability of its method by comparing its results to those obtained through neutron diffraction, which is very accurate but requires a high-energy neutron source.
The topics include evaluating internal stresses using rotating-slit and two-dimensional detectors, in situ neutron diffraction measurements of the deformation behavior in high manganese steels, the effect of intergranular interaction and lattice rotation on predicted residual stress and textures in austenite and ferrite, evaluating residual stresses at the interface with implant by synchrotron radiation, the effect of process atmosphere on the microstructure and residual stresses after the laser surface hardening of steel, residual stress in coating produced by cold spray, and investigating residual stress/strain and texture in a large dissimilar metal weld using synchrotron radiation and neutrons.
3:15 A NEUTRON DIFFRACTION STUDY OF THE IRON-BASED SUPER-CONDUCTOR SRFE2AS2 **, Phillip A.
On this principle, built X-ray and neutron diffraction.