4. Neutron Scattering


Neutrons are subatomic particles with no net electric charge, unlike other particles such as protons and electrons, which have an intrinsic electric charge. It is this distinction that makes the interaction between neutrons and matter particularly interesting when compared to proton-matter or electron-matter interactions.

While the latter interactions are dictated by Coulomb forces involving strong charge repulsion or attraction, charge-free neutrons can move through matter undeterred by these factors. This translates to neutrons generally possessing the ability to penetrate deeper into matter than other subatomic particles.

When contemplating the application value of this trait, one can imagine that by evaluating the properties of neutrons scattering from matter, information can be gathered about the bulk characteristics of that matter that cannot be gained from the scattering of other subatomic particles with shorter penetration depths. This opens up a whole variety of possible physics knowledge that can be acquired from studying neutron-matter interactions and indeed there is an expansive field in which neutron scattering is utilized as a versatile experimental technique. This report provides a brief overview of the neutron scattering technique and its many applications.

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