Neutron Scattering

This activity supports basic research on the fundamental interactions of neutrons with matter to achieve an understanding of the atomic, electronic, and magnetic structures and excitations of materials and their relationship to materials properties. Major emphasis is on the application of neutron scattering, spectroscopy, and imaging for materials research, primarily at BES-supported user facilities. Development of next-generation instrumentation concepts, innovative optics, novel detectors, advanced sample environments, data analysis tools and polarized neutrons are distinct aspects of this activity. Capital equipment funding is provided for items such as detectors, monochromators, focusing mirrors, and beamline instrumentation at the facilities.

Neutron scattering provides information on the positions, motions, and magnetic properties of materials. The neutrons used in scattering experiments with wavelengths commensurate with the inter-atomic distances have energies in the meV range that is comparable to both the lattice and magnetic excitations (phonons and magnons). This fundamental property makes neutrons an ideal probe for both the structure and dynamics in condensed matter. The high sensitivity to light elements and large difference in scattering cross-section of certain isotopes offer unique contrasts and a range of versatile tools for the investigation of ordered and disordered as well as hybrid nanostructured materials. Their high penetrating ability and low energy allow nondestructive evaluation of the structure and dynamics of materials deep within the specimens, and their magnetic moment offers as an important probe of magnetic phases in materials.

To obtain more information about this research area, please see our Core Research Area descriptions and the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart and budget request.

For more information about this research area, please contact Dr. Helen Kerch. (Acting)