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Determination of the Effective Transverse Coherence of the Neutron Wave Packet as Employed in Reflectivity Investigations of Condensed-Matter Structures. I. Measurements

Published

Author(s)

Charles F. Majkrzak, Christopher Metting, Brian B. Maranville, Joseph A. Dura, Sushil K. Satija, Terrence J. Udovic, Norman F. Berk

Abstract

The primary purpose of this investigation is to determine the effective coherent extent of the neutron wave packet transverse to its mean propagation vector k, as prepared in a typical instrument used to study the structure of materials in thin film form via specular reflection. There are two principal reasons for doing so. One has to do with the fundamental physical interest in the characteristics of a free neutron as a quantum object while the other is of a more practical nature, relating to the understanding of how to interpret elastic scattering data when the neutron is employed as a probe of condensed matter structure on an atomic or nanometer scale. Knowing such a basic physical characteristic as the neutron's effective transverse coherence can dictate how to properly analyze specular reflectivity data obtained for material film structures possessing some amount of in-plane inhomogeneity. In this study we describe a means of measuring the effective transverse coherence length of the neutron wave packet by specular reflection from a series of diffraction gratings of different spacings. Complementary non-specular measurements of the widths of grating reflections were also performed which corroborate the specular results. (Part I principally describes measurements interpreted according to the theoretical picture presented in Part II.) Each grating was fabricated by lift-off photo-lithography patterning of a nickel film (approximately 1000 Angstroms thick) formed by physical vapor deposition on a flat silicon crystal surface. The grating periods ranged from 10 microns (5 microns Ni stripe, 5 microns intervening space) to several hundred microns. The effective transverse coherence length, modeled as the width of the wave packet, was determined from an analysis of the specular reflectivity curves of the set of gratings.
Citation
Physical Review A
Volume
89
Issue
3

Keywords

neutron transverse coherence length, neutron reflectometry, neutron wave packet, neutron scattering

Citation

Majkrzak, C. , Metting, C. , , B. , Dura, J. , Satija, S. , Udovic, T. and , N. (2014), Determination of the Effective Transverse Coherence of the Neutron Wave Packet as Employed in Reflectivity Investigations of Condensed-Matter Structures. I. Measurements, Physical Review A, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=914358 (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created March 27, 2014, Updated February 19, 2017