Our group operates the neutron resonant TRISP and the neutron/x-ray contrast reflectometer NREX at the FRM-II neutron source in Garching near Munich. Our recent research focused on the combined effects of the electronic structure and lattice vibrations on superconductivity in lead and niobium, the non-Fermi liquid state in MnSi, the physics of spin fluctuations in the prototypical antiferromagnet MnF2, and several other physical problems, where the unprecedentedly high μeV-resolution of TRISP proved indispensable.
Neutron resonant spin-echo spectroscopy / TRISP
The neutron resonant spin-echo spectroscopy, in combination with triple-axis spectroscopy, affords the determination of lifetimes of dispersive excitations over the entire Brillouin zone with μeV energy resolution. The energy resolution of this method thus exceeds that of conventional neutron spectroscopy by about three orders of magnitude. The idea underlying the method dates back to the early 1970's, but technical obstacles had prevented its implementation. We have systematically overcome these technical obstacles using a prototype setup at the Hahn-Meitner-Institut in Berlin. Based on this experience, the triple axis resonant spin echo spectrometer TRISP was built and commissioned at the FRM-II research reactor in Garching. The instrument performance is excellent.
During the first year of operation of TRISP, we have completed detailed studies of the lifetimes of acoustic phonons in lead and niobium, and of antiferromagnetic magnons in MnF2. In the former study, we monitored the renormalization of the electron-phonon linewidth across the superconducting transition temperature, which amounts to a few μeV and is hence inaccessible to standard neutron (or x-ray) spectroscopy. The data allowed a detailed comparison with ab-initio density functional calculations performed in Andersen's group. In the latter study, 30-year-old predictions of magnon lifetimes were subjected to a first experimental test. The results revealed that scattering from longitudinal spin fluctuations (and not the extensively studied magnon-magnon scattering channel) limits the magnon lifetimes over a wide range of temperatures. The data also exhibit several anomalous features that provide challenges for future theoretical work. We are currently using TRISP to study spin excitations in low-dimensional quantum magnets and phonons in various transition metal oxides. Finally, highly accurate determinations of lattice parameters under high pressure ("Larmor diffraction") on TRISP are being used to study the critical behavior at pressure-induced quantum phase transitions, for instance in the helimagnet MnSi.
The neutron/x-ray contrast reflectometer NREX
NREX is a “Tanzboden” reflectometer in the neutron guide hall of the FRM-II research reactor in Garching, which uses a monochromatic beam extracted from the cold neutron guide NL-1. NREX has a horizontal sample position. Both polarized and nonpolarized neutrons can be used in the following grazing incidence experiments:
specular reflection (θin,max = 10° QZ,max = 0.55 Å-1)
diffuse scattering with 200×200 mm2 PSD (θout,max = 20°, QX,max = 0.1 Å-1)
grazing incidence neutron diffraction or small angle scattering (φmax = 110°, QY,max = 1.5 Å-1)
simultaneous measurements of neutron and x-ray scattering (nonpolarized beam only, autumn 2011)
spin-echo-resolved grazing-incidence scattering (autumn 2011)
Focusing monochromator (λ = 4.26 Å (1st order)) with the possibility to switch between modes “higher intensity/worse resolution” (dλ/λ = 2%, intensity = 7 a.u.) and “better resolution/less intensity” (dλ/λ = 0.5%, intensity = 1 a.u.).
Polarizer — SwissNeutronics double transmittance m = 3.5 supermirrors. Efficiency P = 99%.
Specular analyzer — SwissNeutronics double transmittance m = 3.5 supermirrors. Efficiency P = 99%.
Off-specular analyzer — 3He cell (produced by optical pumping facility HELIOS of FRM-II) + magic box with an integrated flipper.
Spin-flippers — high efficiency gradient RF field spin flippers.
LakeShore EM-UVA electromagnet. Maximum fields: 3T for 15mm gap, 0.5T with cryostat;
CCR-15 closed cycle low vibration pulse tube cryostat. Minimum temperate — 3K, with 3He insert — 0.05K (has to be booked in the FRM-II Sample Environment Group). Cooling from room to base temperature — 1.5 hrs;
large-diameter (overall 100 mm) silicon liquid film cell (T < 100 °C);
active anti-vibration device for experiments with free liquid surfaces;
liquid thermostat for cooling and heating to medium temperatures.
2/3 of the neutron time is given to the external users via the FRM-II proposal system. You can apply for this beam via FRM-II web page.