Visualization and quantification of inhomogeneous and anisotropic magnetic fields by polarized neutron grating interferometry

The intrinsic magnetic moment of a neutron, combined with its charge neutrality, is a unique property which allows the investigation of magnetic phenomena in matter. Here we present how the utilization of a cold polarized neutron beam in neutron grating interferometry enables the visualization and characterization of magnetic properties on a microscopic scale in macroscopic samples. The measured signal originates from the phase shift induced by the magnetic potential. Our method enables the detection of previously inaccessible magnetic field gradients, in the order of T cm−1, extending the probed range by an order of magnitude. We visualize and quantify the phase shift induced by a well-defined square shaped uniaxial magnetic field and validate our experimental findings with theoretical calculations based on Hall probe measurements of the magnetic field distribution. This allows us to further extend our studies to investigations of inhomogeneous and anisotropic magnetic field distribution.