Neutron diffraction, chemistry, Microeconomics

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chemistry assignmentsNeutron diffraction supplements x-ray diffraction and is particularly helpful in locating hydrogen atoms.

An x-ray beam is scattered primarily as a result of interaction with the electrons that surround each atom of an ion or molecule. Thus the atomic scattering factors are approximately proportional to atomic numbers. As a result, it is difficult to locate low atomic number in the presence of high atomic number atoms. Thus the position of hydrogen atoms generally cannot be deduced from x-ray diffraction studies. (A positive attitude to this difficulty is the recognition add to the complexity of many already complex structure determinations.) Within a factor of 3 or 4, all nuclei or, more conveniently, deuterium nuclei can be located in the presence fo behavior atoms.

Neutron diffraction is also distinguished by the noticeable role of the magnetic moment of the neutron when diffraction occurs from crystals with ordered atomic magnetic moments. Neutrons diffraction can be used to study the orientation of atomic magnetic moments in ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic crystals. Neutron diffraction is thus a specialized adjunct to z-ray diffraction.

A neutron beam is usually formed from the thermal neutrons of a nuclear reactor. A velocity selector device augmented by crystal diffraction provides a monochromatic beam. The wavelength associated with the neutron beam can be calculated from the de Broglie relation. The momentum term mv is obtained for thermal neutrons by setting

½ mv2 = 3/2 kT

And rearranging to get;

Mv = √3mkT

With appropriate numerical values, including 1.675 × 10-27 kg for the mass of a neutron, we obtain,

1.46 ×10-10 m = 146 pm

A beam of thermal neutrons therefore has a wavelength suitable for diffraction studies of crystals. A diffraction pattern like those obtained for x-ray diffraction except that a longer wavelength beam is used is obtained.

Typically crystals, whose structures are known, except for the postions of hydrogen atoms, are studied. The transform procedure is used that the positions fo these remaining nuclei are found. The smallness of the nuclei would lead to sharp peaks on a nuclear density map, but thermal motion produces some spreading of these peaks. 


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