Inelastic Scattering

To reveal the atoms motion patterns

When a neutron exchanges energy with a nucleus in the sample, the scattering process is said to be inelastic. Instruments which probe the properties of the sample as a function of the neutron energy are in general called spectrometers. These inelastic scattering instruments are able to give us information on a particle’s motion in space and time as well as magnetic order within a sample. Typical examples are:

  • Triple-axis spectrometers: measurements of phonons (lattice vibrations) or magnons (spin excitations) in single crystalline materials in a picosecond range
  • Time-of-flight spectrometers: Atomic/molecular motions in soft matter samples, melts or glassy materials
  • Back-scattering spectrometers: study of atomic or molecular dynamics on a nanosecond time scale
  • Spin-echo spectrometers
  • Vibrational spectroscopy: Chemical information from bulk samples not accessible by optical spectroscopy (e.g. catalysts, hydrogen storage materials and biological systems)