Department of Physics

Department News

Physics Colloquium January 21, 2014

Jan 21, 2014

Speaker: Dr. Alex Thaler
Date: Friday, January 24, 2014
Time: 4 PM
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Sample Synthesis and Neutron Scattering: Complementary Experimental Techniques


Neutron scattering is a very powerful probe in condensed matter physics. Through elastic scattering, neutrons can directly measure crystallographic structure and both local and bulk static magnetic structure. Through inelastic scattering, they can be used to probe excitation states such as phonons, magnons, and spin/charge density waves. By selecting an appropriate temperature, they may be used to probe a wide range of structure sizes and energy scales.
The price neutron scattering pays for these strengths is fairly stringent sample requirements, so many sample growers shy away from providing materials to neutron scattering groups. As a result, neutron scattering groups have become increasingly involved in synthesizing their own materials, particularly at those institutions which do not have a strong extant synthesis group.
I will discuss some of the challenges of being a sample grower in a neutron scattering group and some of the techniques we use to get around them. I will also showcase some of the unique opportunities afforded to a combined group such as ours. Finally, I will talk about some of the projects which we have worked on which use these techniques.

About the speaker:
Dr. Alex Thaler is a postdoctoral research associate at the Seitz Material Lab on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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