Standard Article

Neutron Spectroscopy

  1. Heidemann Anton

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap271.pub2

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Anton, H. 2009. Neutron Spectroscopy. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. 183–208.

Author Information

  1. St. Martin d'Uriage, France

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


Thermal and cold neutrons have wavelengths of a few angstroms (1 Å =10−10 m) and energies of the order of a few millielectronvolts. They are electrically neutral. Neutron scattering is therefore a powerful tool for the investigation of condensed matter on a microscopic scale. After an introduction to the field of neutron scattering and a short outline of its theoretical foundations, we mention the two main domains in neutron scattering without and with energy analysis. The latter, called neutron spectroscopy, is presented in more detail. The different types of experimental techniques, such as three-axis, time-of-flight, back-scattering, and neutron spin echo spectroscopy, are described. An overview of the different types of applications of neutron spectroscopy is given, together with some typical examples.


  • neutron scattering;
  • elastic;
  • inelastic;
  • coherent;
  • incoherent;
  • energy analysis;
  • spectroscopy;
  • neutron spin echo;
  • flipper;
  • back-scattering;
  • three-axis;
  • time of flight;
  • cross section;
  • correlation function;
  • neutron optics;
  • reciprocal space