SIKA user, Prof. Bing Li (Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences) and his multinational collaborators published their study in Nature on March 28. They report on an unusual phase transition in a plastic crystal. The colossal barocaloric effects, reported here in a class of highly disordered solid, could be a solution to the next-generation of solid-state refrigeration technologies. Using neutron scattering instruments at J-PARC (Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex) and ANSTO (Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation), the team monitored the molecular dynamics of this material. Their experimental results and computer simulations are consistent. At the early stage of this research, SIKA instrument scientist, Dr. Shin-ichiro Yano (NSRRC) identified an anomaly in the incoherent elastic scattering intensity at the structural phase transition and confirmed hydrogen bonds as a key role in this effect after conducting neutron scattering experiments on SIKA.
SIKA, a cold neutron triple-axis spectrometer, is designed for studies in low-energy excitations; it is an effective tool to understand novel ground states of materials, such as superconductors, other strongly correlated systems, low dimensional magnets, etc. It is the Taiwan-Australian neutron instrument, built at ANSTO, based on the “Agreement on Neutron Beam Applications Research” signed between the National Science Council (NSC, Taiwan) and Australia in 2005. In 2013 NSRRC was commissioned by the NSC (later reorganized to Ministry of Science and Technology, MOST) to operate SIKA.