Neutron scattering is a technique that can tell us where atoms are and what they do. This works because neutrons roughly have the same size as atoms and therefore, by observing how neutrons “bounce” off materials, we can learn more about them. The usage of this stretches from medicine, food science, understanding chemical reactions to engineering applications of, for instance, how the structure of steel is affected when bent.
In my Ph.D. project I, among other, use neutrons to investigate how magnetic fluctuations in some materials are intertwined with superconductivity. Superconductivity is the ability of a material to conduct a current without having any resistance, but we only know materials now that have this feature at very low temperatures (-190 C and below). Understanding the physics that happens in these materials could allow us to construct more effective conductors in the future and minimize emissions since a lot of the power generated today go to waste in transport.
At University of Copenhagen I work in collaboration with DTU and the European Spallation Source (ESS), a new world leading neutron facility for material science currently under construction in Lund.