Chapter 5.3 Dynamical theory of neutron diffraction

Reciprocal space

First Online Edition (2006)

Part 5. Dynamical theory and its applications

  1. M. Schlenker1,
  2. J.‐P. Guigay1,2

Published Online: 1 JAN 2006

DOI: 10.1107/97809553602060000571

International Tables for Crystallography

International Tables for Crystallography

How to Cite

Schlenker, M. and Guigay, J.-P. 2006. Dynamical theory of neutron diffraction. International Tables for Crystallography. B:5:5.3:557–569.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Laboratoire Louis Néel du CNRS, BP 166, F‐38042 Grenoble CEDEX 9, France

  2. 2

    European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, BP 220, F‐38043 Grenoble, France

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JAN 2006



Dynamical scattering effects, such as Pendellösung oscillations, anomalous transmission, rocking‐curve shapes or extinction, occur in neutron diffraction just as in the X‐ray case. New features due to the neutron’s magnetic moment appear in diffraction by magnetic crystals. The theory has to be formulated in terms of spinor wavefunctions. The dispersion surface, for the usual two‐beam case, is of order 4, with wavefields polarized in various directions. If the mean value of the internal magnetic field and the Fourier component with wavevector equal to the scattering vector in the reflection under consideration of the microscopic magnetic field are parallel or antiparallel, this complicated situation is simplified: the propagation of the (±) spinor components are then independent of each other. Dynamical diffraction effects are involved in numerous neutron optics experiments and in the imaging of various types of magnetic domains by neutron topography.


  • neutron scattering;
  • dynamical theory;
  • kinematical approximation;
  • neutron interferometry;
  • scattering lengths;
  • refractive index;
  • neutron absorption;
  • Larmor precession;
  • neutron spin;
  • magnetic scattering;
  • flipping ratio;
  • extinction;
  • Pendellösung;
  • neutron topography