This chapter introduces the basic idea of quasielastic neutron scattering as a probe for diffusion processes in condensed matter. Neutron scattering and solid state diffusion have in common that they both can be separated into two problems: the single event (scattering on a single nucleus or single diffusive jump, respectively) and the cooperative combination (in space and time) of those events in solids. The history of neutron scattering is outlined with the development of neutron sources and neutron scattering instruments. All large scale neutron scattering facilities, based on research reactors or on neutron spallation sources, are nowadays operated as user facilities with the consequence that neutron scattering is not ‘big science’ like high energy particle physics, but the practise of neutron scattering is characterized by a large variety of small groups working on many different scientific problems. A brief summary of the remainder of the book covers the fundamentals of quasielastic neutron scattering and its application to different material systems.
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