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NIST Scientist Honored for Neutron Probe Advances

June 30, 2005

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Contact: Michael Baum

Through pioneering contributions that have expanded the capabilities of a class of specialized instruments that use neutrons to probe materials, Charles Majkrzak has given researchers around the world a productive new angle on topics ranging from the structure of cell membranes to spintronic devices for high-density data storage.

For his role in enhancing both the hardware and theory in the field known as neutron reflectometry, Majkrzak, who leads the Surfaces and Interfacial Science Team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research, will receive the 2006 Bertram E. Warren Diffraction Physics Award. Given every three years by the American Crystallographic Association, the award recognizes those who continue the tradition of its namesake, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who developed widely used methods for determining the structure of a material by analyzing the way in which it scatters, or diffracts, X-ray beams.

Neutron reflectometers, instead, measure the glancing angles at which neutrons reflect from samples, thereby revealing details of both atomic and magnetic structure. Equipped with enhancements developed by Majkrzak and since adopted by major research facilities across the globe, these instruments now reveal greater structural detail and continue to find new applications, particularly in the field of biology. For more information on Majkrzak and his achievements, see www.ncnr.nist.gov/news/Majkrzak_Warren_Award_ACA.html.