Nav: Home

Scientists study neutron scattering for researching magnetic materials

March 05, 2019

Physicists from the University of Luxembourg and their research partners have demonstrated for the first time in a comprehensive study how different magnetic materials can be examined using neutron scattering techniques. The scientists have published their insights in "Reviews of Modern Physics," the renowned science journal of the American Physical Society.

From computers to loudspeakers to electric cars and wind turbines, most electronic devices contain magnetic materials. Understanding why magnetic materials have certain properties is crucial to refining these technologies. "The mesoscopic length scale, which is the regime between a nanometre and a micrometre, determines the properties of many materials. Elements in the microstructure of a material, such as the grain boundaries between crystal grains, have a major influence on the thermal, electric, magnetic and mechanical properties of a metal," explains Andreas Michels, Associate Professor in Physics and Materials at the University of Luxembourg and one of the main authors of the paper.

Perhaps the most important method for examining processes at this level is neutron scattering. "Using neutron scattering techniques, you can get an inside look at these materials, similar to using an X-ray on other materials," explains Michels. In order to achieve this result, the scientists first bombard samples of a material with a neutron beam. Magnetic interaction with the sample causes the neutrons to be diverted from their normal course. This scattering is determined through a detector. Using theoretical models, the scientists can then draw conclusions about the microstructure of the materials based on the pattern of the scattered neutrons.

The review paper, which was produced in cooperation with researchers at Technical University of Munich, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Minnesota, the Institut Laue-Langevin and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, focuses on analysis techniques. "For the first time, we undertook a comprehensive study to determine which broad class of materials can be researched using neutron scattering techniques," says Andreas Michels. "Among other things, we are interested in superconductors, permanent magnets, shape-memory alloys, ferrofluids - almost the whole spectrum of magnetic materials from specific uses to fundamental research in solid-state physics."

The results of the work can be used by physicists and material researchers to get an overview of the range of applications for neutron scattering technology, but also by engineers to make predictions about load-bearing capacity, wear and tear, and the qualities of materials under changing conditions.

University of Luxembourg

Related Physics Articles:

Twisted physics
A new study in the journal Nature shows that superconductivity in bilayer graphene can be turned on or off with a small voltage change, increasing its usefulness for electronic devices.
Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.
2D topological physics from shaking a 1D wire
Published in Physical Review X, this new study propose a realistic scheme to observe a 'cold-atomic quantum Hall effect.'
Helping physics teachers who don't know physics
A shortage of high school physics teachers has led to teachers with little-to-no training taking over physics classrooms, reports show.
Physics at the edge
In 2005, condensed matter physicists Charles Kane and Eugene Mele considered the fate of graphene at low temperatures.
Using physics to print living tissue
3D printers can be used to make a variety of useful objects by building up a shape, layer by layer.
When the physics say 'don't follow your nose'
Engineers at Duke University are developing a smart robotic system for sniffing out pollution hotspots and sources of toxic leaks.
The coming of age of plasma physics
The story of the generation of physicists involved in the development of a sustainable energy source, controlled fusion, using a method called magnetic confinement.
Physics: Not everything is where it seems to be
Scientists at TU Wien, the University of Innsbruck and the ÖAW have for the first time demonstrated a wave effect that can lead to measurement errors in the optical position estimation of objects.
'Fudge factors' in physics?
What if your theory to model and predict the electronic structure of atoms isn't accounting for dispersion energy?
More Physics News and Physics Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at