Accurate Background Correction in Neutron Reflectometry Studies of Soft Condensed Matter Films in Contact with Fluid Reservoirs
David P. Hoogerheide, Frank Heinrich, Brian B. Maranville, Charles F. Majkrzak
Neutron reflectometry (NR) is a powerful method of looking at the structures of multilayered thin films-including biomolecules on surfaces, particularly proteins at lipid interfaces. The spatial resolution of the film structure obtained through a NR experiment is limited by the maximum momentum transfer at which the reflectivity can be measured. This maximum is in turn determined primarily by the scattering background present. Thus, reduction of scattering background is an important part of improving the spatial resolution attainable in NR measurements. Here we measure and calculate the background field in a monochromatic reflectometer. We show that utilizing the entire background field improves data modeling and reduces experimental uncertainties associated with localized background subtraction.