The way to identify and characterize potentially interesting neutron-moderating materials is to measure their neutronic properties: vibrational density of states (VDoS) and total cross-section. The idea behind the VDoS measurements is to look for low energy vibrational modes that can enable efficient moderation of neutrons in the so-called cold energy region.
TOSCA instrument  at the ISIS is an indirect-geometry inelastic neutron spectrometer optimized for high resolution vibrational spectroscopy in the energy transfer region between -24 and 4000 cm-1 which makes it a perfect tool for the determination of VDoS of moderator material candidates in the cold region such as Triphenylmethane  or solid methane.
In this work, the measurements of VDoS of a number of hydrocarbons, which can be of interest for neutron moderation, will be described. The candidate materials have been chosen if they satisfy the following conditions: they have relatively high proton density (one of the main requirements for a good moderator); they have benzene ring(s) - this could imply that they are less prone to radiation damage; they are liquid at room temperature and solid at the cryogenic temperatures (so relatively easy for operation). Using these criteria the following materials have been chosen: para-cymene (C10H14), thymol (C10H14O), mesitylene (C9H12) and toluene (C7H8). Mesitylene and toluene have been extensively studied in the moderator development work at JINR Dubna  but the idea here was to compare a mixture of mesitylene and para-cymene with a mixture of mesitylene and toluene under different cooling and annealing conditions for different fractions of the mixture constituents.
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