Chapter 6.2 Neutron sources

Crystallography of biological macromolecules

First Online Edition (2006)

Part 6. Radiation sources and optics

  1. B. P. Schoenborn1,
  2. R. Knott2

Published Online: 1 JAN 2006

DOI: 10.1107/97809553602060000666

International Tables for Crystallography

International Tables for Crystallography

How to Cite

Schoenborn, B. P. and Knott, R. 2006. Neutron sources. International Tables for Crystallography. F:6:6.2:133–142.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Life Sciences Division M888, University of California, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 8745, USA

  2. 2

    Small Angle Scattering Facility, Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation, Physics Division, PMB 1 Menai NSW 2234, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JAN 2006



In this chapter, a brief overview is presented of (i) the two main types of neutron sources and (ii) some of the primary components required to prepare a neutron beam for a neutron‐scattering instrument. The neutron source plays a pivotal role in the design and utility of an experiment in macromolecular crystallography, membrane and fibre diffraction, and small‐angle neutron scattering. However, innovative design of the scattering instrument using the latest technology (e.g. image plates or large multiwire proportional counters) can partially offset certain negative impacts of the source and make an enormous difference to the instrument as a user facility.


  • crystal monochromators;
  • detectors;
  • image plates;
  • moderators;
  • monochromators;
  • multilayer monochromators for neutrons;
  • multiwire proportional counters;
  • neutron‐beam collimators;
  • neutron‐beam filters;
  • neutron beamline optics;
  • neutron detectors;
  • neutron diffraction;
  • neutron guides;
  • neutron instrument resolution functions;
  • neutron sources;
  • spallation neutron sources;
  • supermirrors for neutrons;
  • velocity selectors