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Measurement and Modeling of Polarized Specular Neutron Reflectivity in Large Magnetic Fields



Brian B. Maranville, Brian J Kirby, Alexander J Grutter, Paul Kienzle, Charles F. Majkrzak, Yaohua Liu, Cindi L. Dennis


The presence of a large applied magnetic field removes the degeneracy of the vacuum energy states for spin-up and spin-down neutrons. For polarized neutron reflectometry, this must be included in the reference potential energy of the Schrodinger equation that is used to calculate the expected scattering from a magnetic layered structure. For samples with magnetization that is purely parallel or antiparallel to the applied field which defines the quantization axis, there is no mixing of the spin states (no spin-flip scattering) and so this additional potential is constant throughout the scattering region. When there is non-collinear magnetization in the sample however, there will be significant scattering from one spin state into the other reference potentials will differ between the incoming and outgoing wavefunctions, changing the angle and intensities of the scattering. The theory of the scattering and recommended experimental practices for this type of measurement are presented, as well as an example measurement.
Journal of Applied Crystallography


neutron, reflectivity, zeeman, magnetism


, B. , , B. , , A. , Kienzle, P. , , C. , Liu, Y. and , C. (2016), Measurement and Modeling of Polarized Specular Neutron Reflectivity in Large Magnetic Fields, Journal of Applied Crystallography, [online], (Accessed May 19, 2024)


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Created August 1, 2016, Updated June 2, 2021