The measurement of nuclear and magnetic excitation spectra from single crystal samples remains central to condensed matter physics. The requirements in terms of the range and resolution of the scattering vector Q and energy transfer h ω are reviewed and typical experiments with a well defined cross-section are chosen. The performance and limitations of existing instruments are reviewed. A design for a new spectrometer, PRISMA, to be installed on the UK spallation neutron source, ISIS, is presented. Its performance for chosen experiments is given in terms of the Q and h ω range covered in a single scan, the resolution and the count rate.
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