Future Applications of Small-Angle Scattering to Soft Matter

12 Feb 2016

Future Applications of Small-Angle Scattering to Soft Matter is being organised by SCI's Colloid & Surface Chemistry Group and the RSC's Colloid & Interface Science Group; with support from the RSC/IoP Neutron Scattering Group and the ISIS Pulsed Neutron Source.

Ever since Michael Faraday first observed what would later become known as the Tyndall effect, the scattering of radiation has occupied a key place amongst the armoury of techniques for the characterisation of soft condensed matter systems, the foundation of modern nanotechnology.

With the advent of the synchrotron storage ring, laboratory light scattering rapidly gave way to small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), but at about the same time the new atomic age provided a complementary technique: small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). Not only were neutrons more penetrating, allowing more sophisticated sample environments, but (unlike X-rays) they scattered differently from different isotopes, most notably hydrogen and deuterium. The latter swiftly led to the method of contrast matching, a means of ’tuning in’ on different components in a complex mixture, and which is now a routine experimental protocol.

Today SAXS/SANS have revolutionised our understanding of the nanoscale structure and physical chemistry in a broad range of soft matter, much of technological relevance: shampoo, shower gels, laundry detergents, paints, liquid crystals, drug formulations, polymers, super-critical fluids, foodstuffs, and biomaterials.

The availability and capability of neutron sources, and their SANS instruments, have changed enormously in the intervening years: reactor-based sources are giving way to accelerator-driven sources, spatial and temporal resolution have improved, as has the dynamic range of instruments, and many experiments now routinely couple simultaneous auxillary in-situ techniques (rheometry, stop-flow, DLS, etc). With construction of the €2bn European Spallation Source already underway in Sweden (to which the UK is a contributor) even greater promise awaits the soft matter community in the second half of the next decade.

Against this background, Future Applications of Small-Angle Scattering to Soft Matter, taking place at the STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon on 5 May 2016, will focus on state-of-the-art applications of SANS across a range of soft matter systems, and the future scientific opportunities that will come from new facilities, new instruments, and technical advances.

The meeting will also celebrate the retirement of Dr Richard K Heenan, principal scientist in SANS at the ISIS Pulsed Neutron & Muon Source. The distinguished speakers are all established small-angle scatterers whose interests span a number of different areas. There will also be a small poster session and abstracts are invited. The poster abstract deadline is Friday 18 March 2016.

Why did we choose our venue? You’ll have to come along to find out!

For more information or to book your place at this event, click on the link below.

SCI Members attending this event will also be able to claim CPD points.

Dr Stephen King
ISIS Facility, Rutherford Appleton Lab

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