High-resolution diffractometer with variable vertical focusing

D16 - Cold neutron diffractometer

horizontal cold source

beam tube


neutron guide

H521 (150 x 60 mm2)

Focussing PG monochromator

7 vertically bending HOPG(002) crystals d = 3.355 Å or 3 Rb-intercalated graphite crystals

area per element

17 x 80 mm2

total area

122 x 60 mm2

wavelengths (take off)

4.5 Å and 7.5 Å (83°)
5.6 Å and 9 Å (115°)


0.4° (HOPG) and 1.5° (Rb-int)

Beryllium filter


liquid nitrogen


3.95 Å

path length

100 mm


λ/2 < 0.1 %


2 variable slits:

S1 (mono)

max. 150 x 40 mm2

S2 (sample)

max. 150 x 40 mm2

monochromator-to-sample distance

2.8 m

Sample area

max flux at sample

107cm-2 s-1

typical sample size

30 x 10 mm2 (diffraction)
7 x 7 mm2 (HighRes SANS)

He detector (MILAND)


0.3 to 1.0 m


-5° < 2Θ < 125°


320 x 320 mm2

resolution (pixel size)

1 x 1 mm2

max. counting rate

100 kHz (less than 1% dead time)


variable size, typically 20 x 20 mm2
X/Y motorized

2-circle mode

sample rotation (Θ)

-180° ... +180° +/- 0.002°

detector rotation (2Θ)

-5° ... +130° +/- 0.01°

4-circle mode

sample rotation (Θ)

-180° ... +180°

sample rotation (φ)

-180° ... +180°

sample rotation (χ)

-180° ... +180°

Instrument description

D16 is a two-circle diffractometer that evolved from the first "biological membrane diffractometers" built in Brookhaven and Harwell in the early seventies. Its original specifications were defined for the study of structures of about 5 nm periodicity diffracting to a real space resolution of a fraction of nanometer. Because of its special characteristics, D16 remains unequalled for the study of a wide range of systems in biology, physics and physical chemistry. These include large unit-cell lamellar organisations such as membranes or clays, two-dimensional membrane and surface lattice structures, colloidal structures and magnetic systems.

The primary white beam is reflected by a focussing pyrolytic graphite monochromator providing an important flux at the sample. The monochromator housing has two beam holes at take-off angles of 90° and 115°, corresponding to 4.7 Å and 5.6 Å beams and incorporates the slit systems and cooled Beryllium filter in a way that optimises the beam optics within space and health physics constraints.

In the last decade D16 has undergone several major upgrades: in 1999 with a new design and the move from H16 to H17, in 2002 with a new 3He PSD and in 2007 with the move to H53. The design revisited in 2007 allows for much easier and rapid wavelength changes by simple rotation of the diffractometer around the monochromator axis.

Since 2006, a high-resolution SANS setup is used routinely in experiments requiring the 1% wavelength band width and the high angular resolution of the instrument.

The sample environment includes controlled temperature and humidity chambers, cryostats, furnaces, magnets, cryomagnets, high pressure cryostats, high pressure cells and an automatically positioned, temperature controlled horizontal sample changer.

In terms of Q-space and Q-resolution, D16 nicely fills the gap between the small angle instruments and classical diffractometers.