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Since some years ago, the nanomaterials and nanoscience is the “new wave” in science. The interesting in this subject is provided by the extrange behaviour of the physics in this size. Things like corpuscle-wave duality, tunneling effect, uncertainty principle and so on are lately very common in amazing news about science. The real interest in this science, in this nanoparticles that behave in such a way, is that we could controlate the materials in a very precise way. We could be able to create magnetic nanoparticles who go to an specifically part of the body (a sick part, like tumor) carried there by a vector (biologic marker), and then, observe exactly where is the sickness, how is it, and maybe destroy it with magnetic fields.
Therefore, is very important to unveil the real structure and composition of materials made of nanoparticles, like the thickness of a nanostructure layer of a semiconductor (in order to make a led, for example). Neutrons suffer both elastic scattering and inelastic scattering with the nucleus. With the first, we can uncover the arrangement and the degree of order in the solid. With the latter, we can understand the movements and difussion inside the nanostructure. But another characteristic of the neutrons is the magnetic moment (represented by the spin). This magnetic moment can interact with the magnetic moment of the particles we are studying, providing information about its magnetics domains, polarization and so on. Very interesting properties to develop magnetic devices.
The small angle neutron scattering (SANS), in wich the detectors are far from the sample to study, and therefore the detection is in small angle, is very used to detect nanoparticles in some sample. This SANS studies in magnetic materials have been used to detect the core and the shell nanoparticles structure in ferrofluids, to analyze coercivity in magnetics alloys and magnetic correlations with the external field.
Also in inelastic experiments, neutrons are revealing interesting (but yet scarce) results in subjects like acoustic phonons in solid state, variations in the propagation of magnetic waves (spin waves) produced by temperature changes,… This experiments also provides the possibility to achieve interesting results is the spin neutron ecco.
This is just a simple overview on neutron scattering experiments, but it’s clear neutron techniques are essential nowadays, because allow us to investigate and unveil the core composition and shell structure of nanomaterials, with incredible applications at present days. The ESS facility will provide a powerful installations to improve knowledge and growing of nanoparticles and nanoscience, avoiding some difficulties present now in this subjects.