In a variety of applications of inelastic neutron scattering spectroscopy the goal is to single out the elastic scattering contribution from the total scattered spectrum as a function of momentum transfer and sample environment parameters. The elastic part of the spectrum is defined in such a case by the energy resolution of the spectrometer. Variable elastic energy resolution offers a way to distinguish between elastic and quasi-elastic intensities. Correlation spectroscopy lends itself as an efficient, high intensity approach for accomplishing this both at continuous and pulsed neutron sources. On the one hand, in beam modulation methods the Liouville theorem coupling between intensity and resolution is relaxed and time-of-flight velocity analysis of the neutron velocity distribution can be performed with 50 % duty factor exposure for all available resolutions. On the other hand, the (quasi)elastic part of the spectrum generally contains the major part of the integrated intensity at a given detector, and thus correlation spectroscopy can be applied with most favorable signal to statistical noise ratio. The novel spectrometer CORELLI at SNS is an example for this type of application of the correlation technique at a pulsed source. On a continuous neutron source a statistical chopper can be used for quasi-random time dependent beam modulation and the total time-of-flight of the neutron from the statistical chopper to detection is determined by the analysis of the correlation between the temporal fluctuation of the neutron detection rate and the statistical chopper beam modulation pattern. The correlation analysis can either be used for the determination of the incoming neutron velocity or for the scattered neutron velocity, depending of the position of the statistical chopper along the neutron trajectory. These two options are considered together with an evaluation of spectrometer performance compared to conventional spectroscopy, in particular for variable resolution elastic neutron scattering (RENS) studies of relaxation processes and the evolution of mean square displacements. A particular focus of our analysis is the unique feature of correlation spectroscopy of delivering high and resolution independent beam intensity, thus the same statistical chopper scan contains both high intensity and high resolution information at the same time, and can be evaluated both ways. This flexibility for variable resolution data handling represents an additional asset for correlation spectroscopy in variable resolution work. Changing the beam width for the same statistical chopper allows us to additionally trade resolution for intensity in two different experimental runs, similarly for conventional single slit chopper spectroscopy. The combination of these two approaches is a capability of particular value in neutron spectroscopy studies requiring variable energy resolution, such as the systematic study of quasi-elastic scattering and mean square displacement. Furthermore the statistical chopper approach is particularly advantageous for studying samples with low scattering intensity in the presence of a high, sample independent background.

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