A guide to spatially resolved phase and texture evaluation by diffraction contrast neutron imaging

The physical properties of structural as well as functional components are largely governed by the materials microstructure. In polycrystalline materials, the crystallographic phase and preferred grain orientation (texture) can dominate the physical properties. A range of microscopy and diffraction techniques are hence routinely used for their characterization, but are prone to miss local variations across […]

Coexisting curved and flat membranes

The complexity of cellular membranes is not only reflected by their wide molecular composition but also in the wide range of morphologies with coexisting high and low curvature regions. Very little is known about the nanostructure of curved membranes, due to limitations in experimental and simulation approaches. Even though curvature-induced microscopic phase separation has been […]

Advancements in Thermal Neutron Scattering Law Generation

The design of neutron systems, for example nuclear reactors and neutron sources, requires the usage of Monte-Carlo simulation software to predict the distributions of neutrons throughout the system. At low energies, the interactions of neutrons with a material is driven by interactions on the atomic and molecular scale and thus a proper description of this […]

Method to simultaneously probe the bulk modulus and structure of soft compressible objects using small-angle neutron scattering with contrast variation

An object’s bulk modulus quantifies its resistance to an isotropic compression. For soft deformable colloids the bulk modulus must be known to predict their response to crowding. Figure 1: (a) Sketch of the basic principle of our new method. Blue spheres represent the nanogels while the green lines are for the dPEG which, in neutrons, […]

Coupling lipid nanoparticle structure and automated single particle composition analysis to design phospholipase responsive nanocarriers

Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are currently under intense scrutiny for vaccine delivery and RNA therapies. Key to their successful optimisation and translation is a nanoscale, single particle characterisation of the relationship between LNP structure, composition, and performance. Maximising performance and understanding intracellular trafficking are key components of LNP rational design. Phospholipases, specific lipid modifying enzymes, are […]

Neutron reflection and deuteration reveal new insights about the interaction of DHODH enzymes with ubiquinone in mitochondrial model membranes

DHODH (dihydroorotate dehydrogenase) catalyzes a key step in the biosynthesis of pyrimidines, precursors of nucleic acids needed for DNA and RNA synthesis in all living organisms. Because of this, DHODH is a drug target for the inhibition of inflammation and investigated as a target to inhibit cell proliferation (cancer) and viral replication.  Human DHODH is […]

Chiral spin liquid ground state in YBaCo3FeO7 observed by polarised diffuse neutron scattering

Spin liquids are a topical and fascinating subject of condensed matter physics, fueled by the hope to create novel ground-states of matter. Typically, the combination of antiferromagnetic interactions with strong frustration leads to a rich variety of highly correlated spin states rather than to conventional order. Experimental research, however, has remained inconclusive in respect to […]

New study indicates limited water circulation late in the history of Mars

Nakhlite meteorites are igneous rocks from Mars that reacted with water ~630 million years ago while still part of the Martian bedrock, during a time that is often suggested to have been a “dry” period on Mars. However, magmatism and meteorite impacts can trigger so called hydrothermal systems with warm fluids circulating in the bedrock, […]

Correlations between Precipitation Reactions and Electrochemical Performance of Lithium–Sulfur Batteries Studied by Operando Scattering Techniques

Li-S batteries are promoted as a highly promising energy storage solution, but the specific energy demonstrated so far (~400 W h kg‑1) is restricted by the low utilization of active materials in both lithium and sulfur electrodes. The incomplete discharge process of the sulfur electrode is associated with precipitation of insulating reaction products from polysulfide intermediates. This process, […]

Probing the solution structure of the pentameric ligand-gated ion channel GLIC by small-angle neutron scattering

Membrane proteins mediate communication between the outside and inside of cells, and are common drug targets. Detailed understanding of the structure and function of these proteins enrich our basic understanding of how biology works at a molecular level, and can in the long run inform drug development. We have focused on the pentameric ligand-gated ion […]

SARS-CoV-2 spike protein removes lipids from model membranes and interferes with the capacity of high-density lipoprotein to exchange lipids

The COVID 19 pandemic had worldwide impact in 2020 and continues to do so to this day. Understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 virus interacts with the body and why it has greater impact on some areas of the population than others is of great importance. Early on, studies found the need for the presence of cholesterol […]

GISANS studies using fan shaped beams

The understanding of interfacial properties of materials as well as interfacial processes in terms of structural, morphological and compositional changes is of crucial importance in many scientific fields that include chemistry, physics, biology and engineering. Overall, surface science has advanced enormously over the last decades, which is related to the development of a series of […]

Design of Lipid-Based Nanocarriers via Cation Modulation of Ethanol-Interdigitated Lipid Membranes

The phase behavior of phospholipids dictates various membrane properties, such as permeability, shape, and stiffness. Some phospholipids exhibit a polymorphic gel phase and are capable of undergoing membrane interdigitation under specific conditions, such as in the presence of short-chain alcohols (e.g., ethanol). Ethanol-induced interdigitation of diacyl–phosphatidylcholine bilayers has been leveraged to formulate large unilamellar vesicles […]

Dual modality neutron and x-ray tomography for enhanced image analysis of the bone-implant interface

The quality of the bone tissue formed at the contact interface with a metallic implant is of utmost importance for the structural integrity of implant fixation. This quality can be assessed, e.g., based on its 3D microstructure, which is commonly visualised using x-ray tomography. However, due to large differences in interaction strength between the metal […]

Neutron diffraction for residual stress management in metal 3D printing by LPBF

In metal 3D powder bed printing, a part is built on a baseplate layer-by-layer through powder deposition and selectively melting of the deposited powder layer. The localized rapid heating and cooling cycles involved inevitably result in the development of residual stresses in the already solidified bulk of the part. The residual stresses can cause in-process […]

Emergent magnetic behavior in the frustrated Yb3Ga5O12 garnet

Emergence is the phenomenon of collective behaviour that cannot predicted from considerations of the individual constituents but rather through complex interactions resulting in novel and diverse states of matter. A well-known example is the benzene ring, a loop of six carbon atoms, that can be further interconnected to create carbon nanotubes. Emergent behaviour in magnetic […]

Towards measuring surface dynamics with neutrons

Surface science has advanced enormously in recent decades, but many scientific questions are not resolved. Examples are spin wave dispersions with experiments contrasting theory or a difference in the potential defining the zero point energy of H adsorbed at Pt and Si surfaces. The surface dynamics of glass formers is under discussion as well as […]

GISANS revealed water influence on biobased thin films

Nanostructured porous thin films made from biocompatible cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) are widely used due to their attractive properties such as made from renewable resources, low density, lightweight, thermal stability, and excellent mechanical properties. These prerequisites make CNF a promising precursor for the design of bio composites and bio-inspired sensors. One crucial question is the relation […]


The Polaris instrument at ISIS began operation as a high intensity, medium resolution powder diffractometer in the late 1980s. It quickly established a large and scientifically diverse research community, encompassing engineering, materials science, condensed matter physics, solid state chemistry and earth science. However, by the late 2000s many of the key components of the Polaris […]

Neutrons used to locate hydrogen in high entropy alloys

Lately the effect of global warming has been generally accepted and the interest of renewable resources is constantly increasing. Hydrogen would serve this purpose as an alternative fuel; however, storage is a challenging task and there is a need for new materials, with higher hydrogen capacity and lower cost. The concept of high-entropy alloys (HEAs) […]

Using inelastic neutron scattering to understand the local structure and vibrational dynamics in proton conducting oxides for sustainable energy technologies

Proton conducting oxides, and in particular acceptor doped BaZrO3, are materials of great interest because of their huge potential as electrolyte in several energy related technologies, such as hydrogen sensors, membrane reactors, steam electrolyzers, and intermediate-temperature (200 – 500 °C) solid oxide fuel cells. A key requirement for the electrolyte is a high proton conductivity […]

Interactions between Model Cell Membranes and the Neuroactive Drug Propofol

Many low molecular weight drugs, like classical surfactants, contain both hydrophobic and hydrophilic groups. However, due to their lower molecular weight and less distinct separation into hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions, the self-assembly of such drugs in aqueous solutions is less easy to describe in general terms. To gain more understanding of the interaction between such […]

How AstraZeneca can improve lipid nanoparticle formulations for gene delivery using neutron scattering

In recent year, new therapeutic modalities involving delivery of biological molecules such as RNA, peptides and oligonucleotides have shown promising results to treat diseases that are currently hard to tackle with standard small molecules approaches. As an example, last year Alnylam announced the first therapy using small interference RNA (siRNA) approved by the Federal Drug […]

Neutrons used to probe magnetism in three dimensional magnetic data storage elements

The transition from the current two-dimensional data storage and logic schemes to three-dimensional data structures could significantly improve the performance and capacity of electronic devices. Instead of simply storing and manipulating data in a two-dimensional array of elements, one can envisage stacking data bits on top of each other, thus greatly enhancing the data density. […]

Swelling of Thin Graphene Oxide Films Studied by in Situ Neutron Reflectivity

Multilayered Graphene Oxide (GO) materials such as membranes and thin films are known for their potential for selective ion permeation, nano-filtration, water desalination and gas barrier properties. Many recent studies have aimed at demonstration of selective permeation of certain ions and molecules through GO membranes. Membrane tests were demonstrated to be successful for relatively thin […]

Using neutron reflectivity to elucidate electro-responsiveness of interfacial layers of ionic liquids and their solutions

Ionic liquids (ILs) have been identified as promising replacements for conventional lubricants. Their ionic nature and wide electrochemical windows present a new horizon for electrical energy storage solutions and tribotronic lubrication, whereby the friction coefficient is controllable though use of an electric field. However, due to the high production costs the commercialisation of IL lubricants […]

The story behind Super Adam – The Swedish Reflectometer at the ILL

The overall goal of the Super ADAM project is to provide state of the art neutron reflectivity to the Swedish research community. Thanks to a major upgrade started in 2013, Super ADAM has crucial features required to meet contemporary challenges in reflectometry. Super ADAM is operated by Uppsala University and is financed by the Swedish […]

Neutron scattering aids in understanding atherosclerotic plaque build-up – a game of hide and seek

Experimental set-up

Why is it so that individuals with good cholesterol values develop cardiovascular disease, whilst other individuals with poor values remain healthy? Cholesterol and other fats are transported through the blood via specific transporters called lipoproteins. The most well-known are the so called “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Understanding these particles in structure and composition and the way they interact with artery wall is crucial in understanding this disease, the main killer of the West. Such knowledge would aid in improving diagnostic tools as well as in development of new drugs.

Neutrons to study the interplay between aquaporins and porous silica in water treatment

Professor Martin Andersson (Chalmers) — Today, water purification typically includes a size-exclusion based filter that is specialized in removing a certain number of common water pollutants. But these filters do not remove all the pollutants present in water. So why not develop a filter that produces clean water regardless of pollutant? Guess what – nature already did.