Original paper

Single-crystal neutron diffraction

Artioli, Gilberto

Abstract

The applications of coherent elastic neutron scattering from single crystals are reviewed, with emphasis on Earth Sciences materials. The peculiar character of the neutron interaction with matter is naturally exploited in a number of typical experiments: (1) the location of light atoms in the presence of heavy atoms in the structure; (2) the determination of the distribution of elements with similar atomic number over symmetry-independent crystallographic sites; (3) the determination of the position of the atomic nuclei for the extraction of the electron-density distribution by X-N maps; (4) the detailed study of the thermal components of the atomic-displacement parameters. The specific application of neutron-scattering experiments to the study of magnetic structures is not discussed here. The low absorption coefficient for neutrons of most materials suitable for the construction of conditioning chambers (furnaces, cryostats, pressure cells) makes neutron scattering an excellent choice for in situ studies in non-ambient conditions.

Keywords

single-crystal neutron diffractionhydrogen bondingcation partitioningatomic-displacement parametersanharmonicity