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Introducing photons, neutrons and muons for condensed matter physics and materials science



The course runs for one week in June (17th to 21st). It takes place at the campus of the Paul Scherrer Institute. The morning consists of introductory lectures on the use of photons, neutrons and muons for materials characterization. The afternoon consists of tours of the large scale facilities as well as in-depth visit to selected instruments.


The aim of the course is that the students acquire a basic understanding on the interaction of photons, neutrons and muons with matter and how one can use these as tools to solve specific problems on condensed matter and materials research.



  • Interaction of photons, neutrons and muons with matter
  • Production of photons, neutrons and muons
  • Experimental setups: optics and detectors
  • Crystal symmetry, Bragg’s law, reciprocal lattice, structure factors
  • Elastic and inelastic scattering with neutrons and photons
  • X-ray absorption spectroscopy, x-ray magnetic circular dichroism
  • Polarized neutron scattering for the study of magnetic materials
  • Imaging techniques using x-rays and neutrons
  • Introduction to muon spin rotation
  • Applications of muon spin rotation 


  • Philip Willmott: An Introduction to Synchrotron Radiation: Techniques and Applications, Wiley, 2011
  • J. Als-Nielsen and D. McMorrow: Elements of Modern X-Ray Physics, Wiley, 2011.
  • G.L. Squires, Introduction to the Theory of Thermal Neutron Scattering, Dover Publications (1997).
  • Muon Spin Rotation, Relaxation, and Resonance, Applications to Condensed Matter"
    Alain Yaouanc and Pierre Dalmas de Réotier, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 9780199596478
  • A. Amato: Physics with Muons: from Atomic Physics to Condensed Matter Physics, Script Lecture at the UZH