The possibility to explore the world around us beyond the range of unaided human vision has always attracted people. The invention of the light microscope has enabled us to observe enlarged images of tiny objects, but to study the behavior of even smaller objects, like atoms or molecules, requires more effective methods. Invisible to the human eye X-ray and neutron radiation can provide considerably more information; however, this demands the solution of at least two problems: obtaining of appropriate radiation intensity and the interpretation of complicated patterns of radiation scattered back from the irradiated sample.


Neutrons are a powerful probe to study condensed matter (both solids and liquids). The term "Neutron Scattering" embraces a number of scientific techniques whereby the deflection (scattering) of neutron radiation by the samples under study is used. In the investigation of structure and dynamics at the nanoscale, neutron scattering has significant advantages over other forms of radiation, playing a major role in the experimental and theoretical studies of a great variety of materials ranging from magnets and superconductors to colloidal structures with developed chemical surface.


Neutron scattering falls into two basic categories ¾ elastic and inelastic scattering. Using «elastic» scattering, we can gain information on the structure of gases, liquids and solids, since we deal only with those scattering processes that do not involve energetic excitation of atoms. «Inelastic» neutron scattering provides us with valuable information on the binding energy within matter due to neutron excitation of atoms. In the studies of structure and dynamics of magnetic materials it is convenient to use magnetic properties of neutrons: in this case neutrons can be considered as «elementary magnets». Neutrons also are helpful for nuclear research. Fission of heavy nuclei and neutron capture by a nucleus may provide an explanation for a number of still unexplored phenomena occurring in the nucleus.