Precision measurement of the coherent neutron scattering length of 3He through neutron interferometry

  • W. KetterEmail author
  • W. Heil
  • G. Badurek
  • M. Baron
  • E. Jericha
  • R. Loidl
  • H. Rauch
Interdisciplinary Topics


Improved knowledge of the real part of the neutron scattering length of 3He is important for further development of nuclear few-body theory, as well as for a thorough understanding of neutron scattering off quantum liquids. The real part of the bound incoherent neutron scattering length b i' has recently been measured directly with an experimental uncertainty of better than 1% by means of spin echo spectrometry. The uncertainty of the more fundamental bound multiplet scattering lengths b ±' is thus limited by today's 1.2% uncertainty of the spin-independent coherent part b c'. Employing the skew-symmetric perfect crystal Si-interferometer at the S18 experimental site at ILL, Grenoble, we have re-measured the real part of the bound coherent neutron scattering length b c' of 3He. Our result b c' = 6.010(21)fm exhibits a significant deviation compared to the latest accepted value b c' = 5.74(7)fm (H. Kaiser, H. Rauch, G. Badurek, W. Bauspiess, U. Bonse, Z. Phys. A 291, 231 (1979)). Including the known value of the incoherent neutron scattering length, we obtain new values for the real parts of the free singlet and triplet scattering lengths, a -' = 7.573(30)fm and a +' = 3.480(18)fm. Our result contravenes by more than 7 standard deviations the measurement of the same physical quantity that has recently been performed by a group at NIST in a very similar experiment (P.R. Huffman, D.L. Jacobson, K. Schoen, M. Arif, T.C. Black, W.M. Snow, S.A. Werner, Phys. Rev. C 70, 014004 (2004)) which yielded b c' = 5.853(7)fm.


21.45.+v Few-body systems 27.10.+h A ⩽ 5 28.20.Cz Neutron scattering 25.40.Dn Elastic neutron scattering 


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Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Ketter
    • 1
    Email author
  • W. Heil
    • 1
  • G. Badurek
    • 2
  • M. Baron
    • 2
  • E. Jericha
    • 2
  • R. Loidl
    • 2
  • H. Rauch
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für PhysikMainzGermany
  2. 2.Atominstitut der österreichischen UniversitätenWienAustria

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