Neutron wavelengths are similar to atomic distances. This makes them ideal probes of atomic structure, so we can explore where atoms are.
Neutron energies are similar to those of the motions of atoms and the forces between them, so we can explore how atoms are moving.
Neutrons have no overall charge. They are highly penetrating and non-destructive, travelling deep into a sample without damaging it.
|Sensitivity & Selectivity|
Neutrons are highly sensitive to light atoms like hydrogen.
Isotopes of the same element also scatter neutrons differently, which means we can swap in different isotopes to get extra structural information.
Neutrons have a magnetic moment and are sensitive to magnetic fields, allowing magnetic behaviour of materials to be explored. |Power of Polarisation|
Neutrons can be polarised, with their spins aligned in a parallel direction, which allows detailed magnetic information to be determined.