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X-ray and Neutron scattering

This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

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 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 different types of experiments.


  1. Review of Atomic and Crystalline Structure of Matter
  2. X-ray and Neutrons: Wave and Particle Descriptions Basic properties of neutrons
  3. 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, FYS320 Quantum Mechanics, FYS340 Statistical Physics, FYS510 Computational Fluid Dynamics


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

    Method of work

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

    Open to

    Mathematics and Physics - Master of Science Degree Programme
    Mathematics and Physics, 5-year integrated Master's Programme

    Course assessment

    Form and/or discussion


    Literatur will be published as soon as it has been prepared by the course coordinator/teacher

    This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

    Sist oppdatert: 04.08.2020