Neutron Compton scattering in moderate-mass systems
16 Nov 2011



This study suggests for the first time that the technique of Neutron Compton scattering (NCS) may be extended beyond the study of the lightest elements (such as H or He isotopes) to give additional information about the profile widths of heavier nuclei.

​​​NaH nanocrystallites (or amorphous Na) can be encapsulated in a silica gel framework, and studied by neutron Compton scattering.


 If the relative stoichiometry of heavier elements in a material is known, fixing it in the standard Vesuvio data-analysis procedures enables a determination of neutron Compton widths. Measurements were conducted on three systems: bulk NaH, amorphous Na within a silica gel framework (SiGNa), and a system with both amorphous Na and NaH nanocrystallites encapsulated in the framework (SiGNaH). In addition to subtle differences in the proton momentum distribution in NaH and SiGNaH, a systematic increase in Na Compton widths is demonstrated in SiGNa, SiGNaH and bulk NaH. This sensitivity to chemical environment is further supported by examination of O and Si widths in the gel samples.

AG Seel, A Sartbaeva, PP Edwards (University of Oxford), J Mayers, AJ Ramirez-Cuesta (ISIS)
Research date: August 2011

Further Information

Contact: Prof. PP Edwards,

Further reading: AG Seel et al., J. Chem. Phys. 134 (2011) 114511​