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LNS: Laboratory for Neutron Scattering and Imaging

The Laboratory for Neutron Scattering and Imaging (LNS) at the Paul Scherrer Institute is responsible for the scientific exploitation, operation and development of neutron scattering and imaging instruments at the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source (SINQ). The team of 50 senior scientists, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students further collaborates on diverse research projects ranging from modern topics in condensed matter physics and materials science to pressing questions in energy research and health care. read more

PhD, Master, Bachelor or Semester projects at the LNS

We offer students the possibility to do their PhD or educational research in our lab. See Teaching and Education for detailed information on Master/Diploma thesis, Bachelor/Semester work and practical courses at the LNS. Currently we have open positions for


11. December 2017

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SwedNess Students visit PSI for hands-on training in neutron scattering

To take full advantage of the upcoming European Spallation Source facility ESS, strategic funding has been allocated to rebuild and expand the Swedish neutron scattering community. One of the most important actions is the establishment of the Swedish national graduate school in neutron scattering (SwedNess). Up to 40 PhD students will be fully funded, employed and trained within this school. In the end of September 2017, the first 20 PhD students arrived at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source (SINQ) for their very first hands-on training in neutron scattering. During their week at PSI the SwedNess students obtained specific training in neutron reflectometry as well as neutron and x-ray imaging. The training was very much appreciated by the students and PSI looks forward to welcoming them back in a near future as scientific users of the SINQ neutron facility.

17. October 2017


Coulomb spin liquid in anion-disordered pyrochlore Tb2Hf2O7

R. Sibille et al., Nature Communications 8, 892 (2017) (full article). The charge ordered structure of ions and vacancies characterizing rare-earth pyrochlore oxides serves as a model for the study of geometrically frustrated magnetism. The organization of magnetic ions into networks of corner-sharing tetrahedra gives rise to highly correlated magnetic phases with strong fluctuations, including spin liquids and spin ices. It is an open question how these ground states governed by local rules are affected by disorder. Here we demonstrate in the pyrochlore Tb2Hf2O7, that the vicinity of the disordering transition towards a defective fluorite structure translates into a tunable density of anion Frenkel disorder while cations remain ordered. Quenched random crystal fields and disordered exchange interactions can therefore be introduced into otherwise perfect pyrochlore lattices of magnetic ions. We show that disorder can play a crucial role in preventing long-range magnetic order at low temperatures, and instead induces a strongly fluctuating Coulomb spin liquid with defect-induced frozen magnetic degrees of freedom.

28. July 2017


4-spin plaquette singlet state in the Shastry–Sutherland compound SrCu2(BO3)2

M.E. Zayed et al., Nature Physics, adv. online publication (July 2017). The study of interacting spin systems is of fundamental importance for modern condensed-matter physics. On frustrated lattices, magnetic exchange interactions cannot be simultaneously satisfied, and often give rise to competing exotic ground states. The frustrated two-dimensional Shastry–Sutherland lattice realized by SrCu2(BO3)2 is an important test to our understanding of quantum magnetism. It was constructed to have an exactly solvable 2-spin dimer singlet ground state within a certain range of exchange parameters and frustration. While the exact dimer state and the antiferromagnetic order at both ends of the phase diagram are well known, the ground state and spin correlations in the intermediate frustration range have been widely debated. We report here the first experimental identification of the conjectured plaquette singlet intermediate phase in SrCu2(BO3)2. It is observed by inelastic neutron scattering after pressure tuning at 21.5kbar. This gapped singlet state leads to a transition to an ordered Neel state above 40 kbar, which can realize a deconfined quantum critical point.

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