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Small-Angle Neutron Scattering

Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) provides access to the largest length scales possible with neutron diffraction.

Small Angle Neutron Scattering is a neutron scattering technique that enables the study of materials on the nanometre to micrometre length scales. The experiment consists of a well collimated beam of neutrons being passed through a sample and detectors to count the number of neutrons scattered as a function of angle and neutron wavelength. This data can then be used to extract information about the shape, size, arrangement, and interactions of the components of the sample.

SANS is used in a wide range of scientific fields, but finds particular use in the study of soft matter (e.g. colloids and polymers), biophysics (e.g. lipids and lipid-protein complexes), biology (e.g. solution structures of proteins) and hard condensed matter (e.g. superconductors and magnetic materials).

Two SANS instruments have so far been recommended for construction:

LoKI is a broad band SANS instrument aimed at the soft matter and materials science communities and is currently undergoing preliminary engineering design. The instrument proposal can be found below.

SKADI is a polarized SANS instrument providing access to very low Q, meaning longer length scales. The SKADI team are currently preparing for preliminary engineering design. The instrument is being developed as a collaboration between Germany, France and the Netherlands and the instrument proposal can be found below.

The traditional SANS measurement is an average over the bulk structure of the sample studied. If we wish to examine the in-plane structure at an interface, we require a different type of measurement, known as Grazing-Incidence Small Angle Neutron Scattering (GISANS). The neutron beam enters the sample at a shallow angle (similar to a reflectometry experiment) and the data recorded give information that is localised to areas close to the surface. 

GISANS is represented by one instrument in the reference suite (Surface Scattering) and we are looking for partners to develop the concept.