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X-ray and Neutron scattering

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Introduction to X-ray and Neutron scattering. The course covers the basic physical principles underlying the interaction of X-ray and neutrons with matter, as well as the physics behind standard experimental techniques used to understand the structure and dynamical processes in matter.

Learning outcome

After completing the course, the student will have an understanding of the spatial structure of simple crystals as well as explain the correlation between the reciprocal lattice, miller index and diffraction. Be able to explain various types of interactions between x-ray/neutrons and matter. Characterize main types of scattering: elastic / inelastic, coherent / incoherent, nuclear / magnetic, apply the theory of basic principles in diffraction and spectroscopy. Be able to calculate structural factors for simple systems. Be able to explain fundamental characteristics of synchrotron radiation as well as various types of experimental methods associated with the use of neutrons and synchrotron radiation. Determine whether neutron scattering or X-ray scattering is a suitable experimental technique for a given project. Explain the structure of instruments for the above types of experiments.


  1. Atomic and Crystalline Structure of Matter Energy, length and temperature scales
  2. Atomic structure and description of many electron systems
  3. Atomic spectra and selection rules
  4. Crystalline state
  5. Symmetry operations and symmetry elements
  6. Crystal systems, Bravais lattices and crystallographic point groups
  7. Reciprocal lattice
  8. Crystallographic space groups
  • X-ray and Neutrons: Wave and Particle Descriptions
      Basic properties of neutrons
    1. Basic properties of X-rays
  • Scattering Theory
      Absorption and scattering processes: elastic and inelastic
    1. Scattering cross section
    2. Fermi's golden rule
  • X-ray - Matter interactions
      Scattering by an electron
    1. Scattering by an atom
    2. Scattering by an atomic cell
    3. Form factors and extinction rules
  • Neutron - Matter interactions
      Scattering of neutrons by a single fixed nucleus
    1. Nuclear scattering (Coherent-Incoherent)
    2. Magnetic scattering
  • Diffraction
      Single crystal diffraction
    1. Laue diffraction (includes practical exercise)
    2. Powder diffraction
  • Inelastic Scattering
      Phonons and vibrations
    1. Spin waves
  • Synchrotron and Neutron Instrumentation
      Synchrotron sources
    1. Neutron sources
    2. Diffractometers
    3. Spectrometers
    4. Small angle scattering techniques
    5. Reflectometers

  • Required prerequisite knowledge


    Recommended previous knowledge

    FYS300 Electromagnetism and Special Relativity, FYS310 Statistical Physics and Solid State Physics, FYS320 Quantum Mechanics


    Oral exam and report
    Weight Duration Marks Aid
    Oral exam8/10 A - FNone permitted
    Laboratory report2/10 A - F
    Oral exam 80%, Laboratory report 20%.
    If a student fails the oral exam, it is possible to retake next semester. Laboratory report is not possible to retake before next time the subject is lectured.

    Coursework requirements

    Attendance at lab training

    Course teacher(s)

    Course teacher
    Olena Zavorotynska
    Coordinator laboratory exercises
    Anna Cecilie Åsland
    Course coordinator
    Diana Lucia Quintero Castro
    Head of Department
    Bjørn Henrik Auestad

    Method of work

    4 hours lectures and 2 hours exercises per week.1 laboratory practice

    Open to

    Master studies at the Faculty of Science and Technology

    Course assessment

    Form and/or discussion


    • Elementary scattering theory for X-ray and Neutron Users - D.S. SIVIA
    • G.L. Squires, Thermal Neutron Scattering
    • ELEMENTS OF MODERN X-RAY PHYSICS - Des McMorrow and Jens Als-Nielsen
    • X-Ray Diffraction Crystallography (e-book). Y Waseda, E. Matsubara, K. Shinoda
    • International Tables for X-Ray Crystallography Vol. A -- D.

    This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

    Sist oppdatert: 30.05.2020