How do Neutrons sense a Magnetic field?

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Offline evan_au

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How do Neutrons sense a Magnetic field?
« on: 28/11/2012 09:59:16 »
In the Naked Scientist show of 25th November 2012, Scientists working at the ISIS neutron source said that they could use neutrons to measure the properties of magnetic fields (if I understood them correctly).

Since the neutron has no electric charge, how does a moving neutron react to a magnetic field?

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Offline Soul Surfer

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Re: How do Neutrons sense a Magnetic field?
« Reply #1 on: 28/11/2012 10:41:05 »
A neutron, although it has no net electrical charge, is a fermion with spin.  It is also made up of quarks which do have electrical charge and are batting around inside at nearly the velocity of light.  This results in it having in effect a magnetic field a bit like a bar magnet which in general also has no electrical charge.  It therefore responds to magnetic fields when it is moving as it almost always is.
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Offline JP

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Re: How do Neutrons sense a Magnetic field?
« Reply #2 on: 28/11/2012 23:34:37 »
Great answer, Soul Surfer!

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Offline evan_au

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Re: How do Neutrons sense a Magnetic field?
« Reply #3 on: 29/11/2012 20:24:21 »
Thanks...