Dr. Gregory A. Chass School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
The ultramodern Chinese Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS, Donguan, PRC) and the European Spallation Source (ESS, Lund, SE) will bring agenda-changing power to materials, molecular and life sciences, and greatly expand our ability to rationally characterise and engineer molecular level architectures.
Like billiard balls colliding, neutron beams scatter off atomic nuclei in matter, providing very high resolution of the atomic-level structure of solids, glasses, liquids and gases at any temperature, and under any pressure. Changes to the speed, and thus momentum, of the neutrons before and after interaction with the sample, provides an unparalleled view of the atomic motions (e.g. diffusions, vibrations); devoid of the selection rules associated with optical techniques. Exciting challenges arise in relating these atomic architectures and motions with the properties, functionality and applications of the systems under study.
The talk provides an overview of the technical background and practical application of neutron scattering at existing facilities in the UK, Canada and Europe for cementitious and amorphous materials – and the in the tracking of nucleation, crystal-formation, ion diffusions and hydrations as well as in resolving order↔disorder transitions in these systems.