NEUTRON DIFFRACTION IN ARCHAEOMETRY: THE ITALIAN NEUTRON EXPERIMENTAL STATION INES@ISIS
AbstractThe Italian Neutron Experimental Station INES, located at the pulsed neutron source ISIS (U.K.), is equipped with a general-purpose neutron diffractometer that was built with a special care aiming to focus its use on archaeometric measurements. In fact, the large sample volume allows to accommodate non standard samples in the neutron beam, the diffraction banks cover an angle of almost 180°, allowing to detect the presence of texture, and the high instrument resolution enables a detailed analysis of the peak shape, to obtain information on the casting process and/or the working techniques applied during the production phase. Thanks to the high penetration power of thermal neutrons, archaeometric measurements performed through neutron diffraction allow to determine bulk properties of the sample. Here, we describe the instrument structure and present some preliminary test measurements, on standard samples, to show the high level quality of the machine. In particular, we will show some results of interest in archaeometallurgy like, for example, multiphase analysis of bronzes and quantitative detection of impurities.