New neutron holography technique opens a window for obtaining clear 3-D atomic images

phys.org | 8/29/2017 | Staff
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People usually associate holograms with futuristic 3-D display technologies, but in reality, holographic technologies are now being used to study materials at the atomic level. X-rays, a high-energy form of light, are often used to study atomic structure. However, X-rays are only sensitive to the number of electrons associated with an atom. This limits the use of X-rays for studying materials made up of lighter elements. Neutron measurements can often fill in the structural gaps when X-ray measurements fail, but neutron beams are harder to produce and have lower intensities than X-ray beams, which limits their versatility.

Now, a collaboration among Japanese researchers from national particle accelerator facilities across Japan has developed a new multiple-wavelength neutron holography technique that can give insight into previously unknown structures. They demonstrated a new neutron holographic method using a europium-doped CaF2 single crystal and obtained clear three-dimensional atomic images around trivalent Eu-substituted divalent Ca, revealing never-before-seen intensity features of the local structure that allows it to maintain charge neutrality.

Neutron - Holography - Structure - Calcium - Fluoride

"We knew that neutron holography might be able to tell us more about the structure of a europium-doped calcium fluoride crystal," says lead author Kouichi Hayashi. "Europium ions add extra positive charge to the crystal...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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