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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


20. February 2017


Magnetic Field Dependence of Excitations Near Spin-Orbital Quantum Criticality

A. Biffin et al., Physical Review Letters 118, 067205 (2017). The spinel FeSc2S4 has been proposed to realize a near-critical spin-orbital singlet (SOS) state, where entangled spin and orbital moments fluctuate in a global singlet state on the verge of spin and orbital order. Here we report powder inelastic neutron scattering measurements that observe the full bandwidth of magnetic excitations and we find that spin-orbital triplon excitations of an SOS state can capture well key aspects of the spectrum in both zero and applied magnetic fields up to 8.5 T. The observed shift of low-energy spectral weight to higher energies upon increasing applied field is naturally explained by the entangled spin-orbital character of the magnetic states, a behavior that is in strong contrast to spin-only singlet ground state systems, where the spin gap decreases upon increasing applied field.

8. February 2017


Elastic properties revealed by thermal diffuse x-ray scattering

B. Wehinger et al., Physical Review Letters 118, 035502 (2017). High-precision measurements of thermal diffuse x-ray scattering revealed that the full elasticity tensor can accurately be obtained in a single crystal diffraction experiment. The new method opens the perspective to determine elastic properties together with crystal structure under the same experimental conditions. The results published in Physical Review Letters show, that absolute values can be obtained within a model-free analysis with a precision comparable to standard methods. The advantage of the new method is its applicability to very small and opaque crystals of arbitrary shape and symmetry. It implies a broad applicability in material science, geophysics and in the study of sound wave anomalies due to fundamental interactions in condensed matter physics.

1. January 2017


Christian Rüegg new head of NUM division

Prof. Dr. Christian Rüegg has been appointed as new head of the division NUM (Research with Neutrons and Muons) starting on January 1, 2017. Christian studied Physics at ETH Zurich, performed his PhD thesis at the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering and received his PhD in 2005. After that he moved to the London Centre for Nanotechnology of University College and Imperial College London, first as a PostDoc, later as Royal Society University Research Fellow, Lecturer and Reader. Since 2011 Christian was head of the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering and Imaging (LNS) within NUM. Furthermore he is full professor at the University of Geneva. Christian will succeed Kurt Clausen, who will retire after 13 years as head of the NUM division.

24. November 2016


Electromagnons probed by inelastic X-ray scattering in LiCrO2

S. Tóth et al., Nature Communications 7, 13547 (2016). Lattice vibrations (phonons) in crystals are typically weakly interacting with the electronic and magnetic degrees of freedom, such as charge and spin fluctuations. Researchers of PSI together with collaborators from EPF Lausanne, Japan and USA discovered an unexpectedly strong coupling between lattice vibrations and spin fluctuations in the quantum magnet LiCrO2. The observed magnetoelastic waves or electromagnons carry both electric and magnetic dipole moment. This was proven using complementary studies with non-resonant inelastic X-ray scattering at ESRF and on the EIGER thermal neutron triple-axis-spectrometer at SINQ, PSI. The experimental data together with model calculations revealed the underlying coupling mechanism. These results will help to develop better multiferroic materials and demonstrate that inelastic X-ray scattering can probe magnetism with high energy resolution in special systems in strong spin-lattice coupling.