Tables for
Volume C
Mathematical, physical and chemical tables
Edited by E. Prince

International Tables for Crystallography (2006). Vol. C, ch. 2.8, p. 124

Section 2.8.2. Implementation

M. Schlenkera and J. Baruchelb

al'Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, Laboratoire Louis Néel du CNRS, BP 166, F-38042 Grenoble CEDEX 9, France, and bExperiment Division, ESRF, BP 220, F-38043 Grenoble CEDEX, France

2.8.2. Implementation

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As a result of (b), the resolution of neutron topography is poor. It was estimated to be no better than 60 µm in non-polarized work on the instrument installed at ILL Grenoble, for exposure times of hours, as a result of roughly equal contributions from detector resolution, geometric blurring due to beam divergence, and shot noise, i.e. fluctuation in the number of diffracted neutrons reaching a pixel. The same reason leads to the technique being instrumentally simple because refinements that might lead, for example, to better resolution are discouraged by the increase in exposure time they would imply. Typically, a neutron beam with divergence of the order of 10′ is monochromated by a non-perfect crystal (mosaic spread a few minutes of arc), and the monochromatic beam illuminates the sample, which can be either a single crystal or a grain in a polycrystal. It is advantageous, but not mandatory, to use a white beam delivered by a curved neutron guide tube as the divergence is already limited and high-energy parts of the spectrum, which would contribute to unwanted background, as well as γ-rays, are eliminated. After the specimen is set for a chosen Bragg reflexion with the help of a detector and counter, a neutron-sensitive photographic detector (see §[link] ) is placed across the diffracted beam, as near the sample as possible to minimize geometric blurring effects while avoiding the direct transmitted beam. Very crude but comparatively fast exposures can be made with Polaroid film and an isotopically enriched 6LiF (ZnS) phosphor screen. Better topographs are obtained with X-ray film associated with a gadolinium foil (if possible isotopically enriched in 157Gd) acting as an [n \rightarrow \beta ] converter, or with a track-etch plastic foil with an 6LiF or 10B4C foil or layer ([n \rightarrow \alpha ] converter) (Malgrange, Petrof, Sauvage, Zarka & Englander, 1976[link]). Alternatively, an electronic position-sensitive neutron detector can be used for both setting and imaging (Davidson & Case, 1976[link]; Sillou et al., 1989[link]).

Polarized neutrons are extremely useful in the investigation of magnetic domains. The use of a polarizing monochromator and a crude attachment providing a guide field and the possibility to flip the polarization can provide this possibility as an option because the requirements are much less stringent than in quantitative structural polarized-neutron-diffraction work.

It is also possible to use the white beam from a curved guide tube directly (Boeuf, Lagomarsino, Rustichelli, Baruchel & Schlenker, 1975[link]), in the same way as in synchrotron-radiation X-ray topography, that is to say making a Laue diagram, each spot of which is a topograph. The technique is then instrumentally extremely simple, but background is a problem. Because the beam divergence is so much larger than for synchrotron radiation, the resolution is much worse than in the latter case, but it is not expected to differ significantly from the monochromatic beam neutron version.

The ability of neutron beams to go through furnaces or cooling devices, one of the advantages in neutron diffraction work in general, is of course retained in topography. It is, however, desirable to retain a small ([\sim \lt] 2 cm) specimen-to-film distance.


Boeuf, A., Lagomarsino, S., Rustichelli, F., Baruchel, J. & Schlenker, M. (1975). White beam neutron topography. Phys. Status Solidi A, 31, K91–K93.
Davidson, J. B. & Case, A. L. (1976). Applications of the fly's eye neutron camera: diffraction tomography and phase transition studies. Proc. Conf. on Neutron Scattering, ORNL, USERDA CONF 760601–P2, pp. 1124–1135.
Malgrange, C., Petroff, J. F., Sauvage, M., Zarka, A. & Englander, M. (1976). Individual dislocation images and Pendellösung fringes in neutron topographs. Philos. Mag. 33, 743–751.
Sillou, D., Baruchel, J., Kuroda, K., Michalowicz, A., Guigay, J. P. & Schlenker, M. (1989). First experiments on flipping ratio mapping with the `multi-PM' position-sensitive detector. Physica (Utrecht), B156–157, 581–583.

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