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Phase-Sensitive Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Experiment



Erik Brok, Kathryn L. Krycka, Erika C. Vreeland, Andrew Gomez, Dale L. Huber, Charles Majkrzak


Small angle neutron scattering is a useful technique for determining the structure of biomolecules in solution. However, because of the well-known problem that the phase of the scattered wave is lost in scattering experiments, unambiguous structural information can generally not be obtained without constraining the applied model using prior knowledge about the sample. A further problem arises because all spatial orientations of the sample molecules contribute to the scattering, when molecules are freely suspended in a liquid. This orientational averaging is a further limitation to accurate and unique determination of three dimensional structures from scattering data. By attaching magnetic nanoparticle references to the sample molecules and using polarized small angle neutron scattering it is possible to obtain phase sensitive small angle neutron scattering data that can be directly inverted to obtain the real space sample structure, while simultaneously eliminating the problem of orientational averaging. We present the first successful implementation of the method by recovering the structure of a core-shell system by direct inversion of polarized small angle neutron scattering data. If perfected the method is very promising for unambiguous determination of the three dimensional structure of biomolecules.
Journal of Physics Communications


small-angle neutron scattering, phase, spin polarization, magnetic tag


Brok, E. , Krycka, K. , Vreeland, E. , Gomez, A. , Huber, D. and Majkrzak, C. (2018), Phase-Sensitive Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Experiment, Journal of Physics Communications, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created September 18, 2018, Updated October 12, 2021