Advanced Photon Source

An Office of Science National User Facility

Neutron & X-ray School - Program Details


The Department of Energy (DOE), particularly through the Office of Science and Basic Energy Sciences, has taken a leading role in financing the construction and operation of large facilities producing X-rays and neutrons. These facilities offer outstanding research capabilities in a wide variety of scientific fields. Thousands of scientists from universities, industry and national laboratories use these facilities every year. Unfortunately, few education courses prepare young researchers to effectively use the complex and sophisticated instruments available at these facilities.

To address this need, DOE provides funding for a National School on Neutron and X-ray Scattering, held every summer for two weeks. Argonne is the home of the Advanced Photon Source (APS). The Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are used to generate neutrons. These facilities are major DOE national user facilities. Lectures for the school cover a wide range of related subjects. The first week begins with a basic grounding in advanced scattering theory (applicable to both neutrons and X-rays) and proceeds to detailed lectures on neutron and X-ray sources and instrumentation. The remainder of the lectures cover widely used neutron and X-ray scattering techniques with an emphasis on both general theory and practical application. Students are also given hands on experience by conducting experiments at the APS, SNS and HFIR.

View the Oak Ridge school webpage


The program of the school focuses on the following areas:

  • The fundamentals of the interaction of X-rays and neutrons with matter
  • X-ray and neutron production and experimental instrumentation
  • Theory and practical application of various X-ray and neutron experimental techniques
  • Hands on experience gained through experiments at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR).

Lectures are given by prominent scientists drawn from universities, several national laboratories, and industry. Subjects for lectures typically include:

  • Interactions of X-rays and Neutrons with Matter
  • Neutron Generation and Detection
  • Neutron Instrumentation
  • X-ray Generation and Detection
  • X-ray Instrumentation
  • Single-Crystal and Surface Diffraction
  • Powder Diffraction
  • Inelastic Scattering
  • Reflectivity
  • Magnetic Scattering
  • Small Angle Scattering
  • Diffuse Scattering
  • Nuclear Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering
  • Coherent X-ray Scattering
  • Amorphous Scattering

Experiments are led by the staff of the beamlines at the APS and the staff of SNS and HFIR. Students will be divided into groups and will do six experiments. Experimental areas include:

  • Powder Diffraction
  • Small Angle Scattering
  • Reflectivity
  • Inelastic Scattering
  • Quasi-elastic neutron scattering
  • Liquids and Amorphous Scattering
  • Stress/Strain/Texture
  • Single Crystal Diffraction
  • Magnetic Dichroism
  • Coherent X-ray Scattering
  • X-ray Microprobe