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Neutron Scattering: Investigating Bragg's Law Virtual Lab

Scientists in Greenland need your help! You'll need to discover the effect of low temperatures on scientific equipment at a research facility. Check atomic layer structures inside a battery and use neutron scattering to solve the mystery!

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Neutron Scattering: Investigating Bragg's Law

About this Simulation

This short, targeted simulations was adapted from the full-length Materials Science with Neutrons simulation.

Did you know your phone runs out of power more quickly when it’s cold outside? Can you investigate what happens inside a battery without breaking it? With materials science you can! In this simulation, you will learn the basics of neutrons and how they can be used as probes in materials science. You will also get to perform neutron diffraction experiments in a modern large-scale research facility.

Help scientists using neutron probing

The equipment used for environmental studies in Greenland is not working properly. Investigate the reason behind that malfunction and discover what exactly happens inside the batteries at low temperatures using neutron diffraction.

Observe the principles of neutron diffraction

Neutrons are subatomic particles found in the nucleus of most atoms. Through a high-energy process neutrons can be expelled from atoms to produce a free neutron beam that can penetrate through almost any material. In this simulation, you will validate Bragg's Law and observe how changes in the wavelength of neutrons - and the distance between atomic layers - affect the scattering pattern of neutrons from your sample.

Perform a neutrons diffraction experiment

Having the knowledge about neutron diffraction, you will be more than ready to enter the diffraction instrument room. Prepare the sample in the cryostat and observe how the neutron diffraction pattern changes when the battery discharges at various temperatures. Analyze the results and help the scientists continue their work in Greenland.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish the basic components of a rechargeable Li-ion battery

  • Recognize in which cases neutrons as a probe might be preferred over x-rays in materials science

  • Understand neutron transmission imaging and its advantages in materials science

  • Distinguish various forms of neutron interaction with a sample and the related neutron cross-sections

  • Relate atomic lattice distance in a powder sample to neutron scattering angle via Bragg's Law

Techniques in Lab

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Neutron diffraction
  • Neutron radiography (imaging)

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