Neutron scattering are considered as a powerful tool to investigate the structure and dynamics of atomic scale systems. The uniqueness of neutrons arises from their basic properties. First, the mass of neutron results in the de Broglie wavelength of being of the order of interatomic distances in solid and liquid systems. Second, neutrons are scattered by nucleus. Since neutrons are uncharged, Coulomb barriers cannot interact with neutrons. Third, a neutron has a magnetic moment and spin, therefore neutrons can interact with the spins of magnetic atoms.
The most frequently used scattering techniques involve small angle neutron/x-ray scattering, grazing incidence small angle neutron/x-ray scattering, neutron spin echo, neutron powder diffraction.
Small angle scattering is mainly used to study structures of bio-membranes, various surfactant micelles, and liquid crystals. Spin echo
instrument is employed to study slow dynamics of various soft-matter materials and quantum wave intereference. Neutron powder diffractions are mostly used for nuclear and magnetic structure determination and spin alignment of the condensed system. The neutron scattering work uses facilities located at various domestic and international laboratories including NIST Center for Neutron Research (Gaithersburg, MD, USA) and HANARO (Daejeon, Korea)
Investigating nano-scale structures such as carbon nanotube composites and discotic liquid crystals using neutron scattering techniques is a primary research goal of our laboratory in general, we also develops novel methods to control and fabricate nano-scale structures. Examples include carbon nanotube composites that are readily dispersible in aqueous solutions and alignment of discotic liquid crystals in strong magnetic fields.