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Small-angle neutron scattering in materials science: Recent practical applications

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2 Author(s)
Melnichenko, Yuri B. ; Neutron Scattering Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831 ; Wignall, George D.

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Modern materials science and engineering relies increasingly on detailed knowledge of the structure and interactions in “soft” and “hard” materials, but there have been surprisingly few microscopic techniques for probing the structures of bulk samples of these substances. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) was first recognized in Europe as a major technique for this purpose and, over the past several decades, has been a growth area in both academic and industrial materials research to provide structural information on length scales ∼10–1000 Å (or 1–100 nm). The technique of ultrahigh resolution small-angle neutron scattering (USANS) raises the upper resolution limit for structural studies by more than two orders of magnitude and (up to ∼30 μm) and hence overlaps with light scattering and microscopy. This review illustrates the ongoing vitality of SANS and USANS in materials research via a range of current practical applications from both soft and hard matter nanostructured systems.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:102 ,  Issue: 2 )