Neutron Scattering

10 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1FA574

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Materials Science A1N, Physics A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 18 March 2010
Responsible department
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Entry requirements

Quantum Physics. Scattering Theory is recommended.

Learning outcomes

After passed course the student should be able to

  • relate neutron scattering data to physical phenomena.
  • apply neutron scattering to scientific problems.
  • bring neutron scattering into context with complementary techniques.
  • optimise a neutron scattering experiment to a specific physical question.


Neutrons are a useful probe to study structure and magnetism. Elastic scattering provides information about the structure of matter and inelastic or quasielastic scattering about lattice excitations and self motion of particles. Because the neutron scattering amplitude can be measured in absolute units, both the structural and magnetic properties as measured by neutrons can be compared quantitatively with the results of complementary techniques. In particular neutrons offer unique possibilities in the three following fields.

1. The high scattering cross section of hydrogen and deuterium makes neutrons particularly well suited for the investigation of light elements, soft matter materials and biological systems.

2. The relatively low energy of thermal neutrons as compared to x-rays with the same wave length makes them well suited to study lattice excitations and diffusion.

3. The neutron has a magnetic moment allowing simultaneously exploration of nuclear and magnetic properties.

In this course the basics of neutron scattering will be explained including scattering theory, diffraction, spectroscopy, instrumentation, inelastic magnetic scattering, magnetic diffraction, magnetic small angle scattering, reflectometry, surface sensitive scattering, quasielastic scattering, neutron spin echo.

After a general introduction on the basics of neutron scattering specialised lectures will be given by external guests.


Lectures, homework and seminars, excursion including practicals.


Homeworks presented in seminars (7.5 credits). Lab course during excursion (2.5 credits).