Soft matter covers a broad range of materials, including polymers (natural and artificial), gels, hydrogels, colloids, fluids (in bulk and confined), and glasses with with liquid crystals—as well as membranes, peptides, and bio-inspired materials. These materials have complex architectures, with their structural features and dynamic processes spanning diverse length scales and time scales, ranging from a single particle to a continuum, hydrodynamic limit, and either coherent displacements of particles, or diffuse, incoherent translations and rotations of the molecular entities.

Molecular motions in soft matter determine its intrinsic properties. The complexity of these dynamics becomes more severe when soft materials are subjected to environments with extreme temperatures, pressures, and confinements. Having a molecular-level understanding of the dynamics of soft matter is critical to characterizing their behavior in varied conditions.

Although countless techniques are individually available today to resolve the wide range of relaxation processes taking place in soft materials, it is often difficult to correlate and compare results obtained using different investigational methods. This is true even when they refer to the same material or similar dynamic phenomena, and many of those techniques do not provide the desired spatial scale information.

Neutron scattering spectroscopy is a technique that can probe both the time scales and length scales of dynamical processes in soft matter. Combining two or more neutron scattering techniques to capture the molecular motions taking place at complementary time scales is an emerging practice today within the soft matter community.

The workshop encompasses a unique opportunity to explore quasi-elastic neutron scattering and its applications. It brings together experts working on different aspects of material dynamics at the pico-to-mesoscale range, in a common effort to familiarize the workshop participants with the two techniques and explore future research directions and collaborations among the user community.

Workshop Organizers: Naresh C. Osti and Laura R. Stingaciu

Workshop Co-organizers and Advisors:  Piotr A. Zolnierczuk, Eugene Mamontov, Niina H. Jalarvo, William T. Heller, and Anibal Ramirez Cuesta


SNS, Building 8600
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Neutron Sciences Directorate One Bethel Valley Rd Oak Ridge, TN 37831

The workshop focuses on using two neutron scattering spectroscopy techniques: neutron spin echo (NSE) and quasi-elastic neutron scattering (QENS). This combination explores the complex dynamics of soft matter over a wide time regime probing diffusive and relaxation motions from picoseconds to hundreds of nanoseconds.

The workshop will be organized in two parts over the course of 2 days:

  • The first day will provide fundamentals of the two techniques, QENS and NSE, together with their most common applications.
  • The second day will be a learning and training event to provide hands-on experience with NSE and QENS experimental setups, data processing, and data analysis to familiarize new users with the two techniques.