Neutron scattering is a unique probe of the structural and dynamic properties of polymeric materials. Two properties of the neutron particle have played a major role in the development of the technique: (i) length and timescales accessed by neutron scattering simultaneously match those of typical molecular processes, and (ii) the capability to manipulate the contrast by deuteration. Starting from what could now be regarded as rather simple experiments on common polymeric systems, the technique has been developed into a tool used to elucidate structure and dynamics of increasingly complex, multi-component materials. Exploiting the high penetration power of the neutron particle, in situ measurements can be performed, so that structural changes can be followed mimicking processing conditions. With continuous improvements in neutron flux and instrumentation, the range of systems that can be investigated is continuously expanding, as well as the accessible spatial and time range instrumentally accessible, Recent years have seen not only advances in synthetic chemistry, but also in molecular modelling and neutron scattering has afforded a way to compare experimental data and computer simulations. With plans being made for next generation neutron sources, e.g. the second target station at ISIS and SNS in the USA, the future is looking very bright for neutron scattering. © 2004 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.
- Local structure
- Neutron reflectivity
- Polymer blends
- Polymer conformation
- Small angle neutron scattering
- Wide angle neutron scattering