The European Physical Journal Applied Physics

Instrumentation and Metrology

Focusing specular neutron reflectometry for small samples

J. Stahna1 c1, U. Filgesa2 and T. Panznera2

a1 Laboratory for Neutron Scattering, Paul Scherrer Institut, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland

a2 Laboratory for Developments and Methods, Paul Scherrer Institut, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland


In many areas of soft and hard matter research science, the amount of material to investigate is rather limited. Partly because the fabrication of larger samples is too expensive or not feasible, yet, partly because the interesting features depend on the size. The aim of this work is to develop a neutron reflectometer optimized for small samples and specular measurements. We present a new concept which is based on state-of-the-art neutron optical elements and which allows studies of samples 100 times smaller than with previous instrumentation. The concept is to use an elliptically focusing guide in the sample plane, and a converging beam geometry in the scattering plane. The latter allows for the simultaneous measurement of a wide angle-of-incidence range simultaneously. Here we report on the prototype setup and first measurements, where we reached a reduction of counting time by one order of magnitude. If a complete instrument is built based on the presented principle, another order of magnitude can be expected.

(Received July 25 2011)

(Revised November 18 2011)

(Accepted March 01 2012)

(Online publication March 23 2012)


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