Standard Article

Neutron Scattering in the Analysis of Polymers

Polymers and Rubbers

  1. C. Michael Roland

Published Online: 17 DEC 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a2022.pub2

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Roland, C. M. 2012. Neutron Scattering in the Analysis of Polymers . Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 DEC 2012


The focus of this article is the application of neutron scattering in polymer science, with various examples given to illustrate the types of problems addressed. Neutron scattering is a powerful analytical tool for investigating polymers. Unique aspects such as the capacity to measure thick samples with an absence heating or radiation-induced damage, selective control of the scattering contrast by isotopic substitution, and the measurement of dynamic properties as a function of length scale are among the many attributes that make neutron methods not just complementary to other analytical techniques, but in many cases the only means to address material issues. The information that can be obtained from neutron scattering — the size, form, and orientation of molecular chains, the thermodynamics and phase structure of mixtures, interfaces and interfacial phenomena, the dynamics at both the local and global length scales, details of the structure of complex nanocomposites and biological materials, etc. — has only been surveyed herein. It is a testament to the utility of neutron scattering that even though the application of neutrons to polymers did not begin in earnest until the 1990s, through the past decade, about 325 peer-reviewed publications per year have appeared on the topic. Whether this figure changes in the future will likely depend on the availability of the specialized, costly facilities required for neutron experiments. Certainly there is no expectation of abatement in the number of important problems in polymer science that can be addressed using neutron methods.