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43rd IFF Spring School

Scattering Methods for Condensed Matter Research:
Towards Novel Applications at Future Sources

5-16 March 2012 . Jülich . Germany



Most of what we know about the structure and dynamics of condensed matter systems on an atomic length- and timescale stems from X-ray and neutron scattering. The IFF Spring School 2012 comes timely to the centennial anniversary of the discovery of X-ray scattering from single crystals by Max von Laue, Walter Friedrich and Paul Knipping in 1912. Their break-through discovery proved both the wave nature of X-rays and the microscopic structure of crystals as being composed of periodic arrangements of atoms. In 1914 the Nobel prize was awarded to Max von Laue for this discovery. Most of our present-day knowledge on the atomic arrangement in crystalline and amorphous matter is based on the work following Max von Laue employing laboratory X-ray sources for X-ray crystallography. With the advent of research reactors nearly 40 years later, neutron scattering came into play with its alternative contrast mechanism and with its sensitivity to atomic magnetism and collective excitations in solids. Again the Nobel prize was awarded to the two pioneers of neutron diffraction and ine-lastic scattering, Clifford Shull and Bertram Brockhouse, in 1994.

Currently, scattering investigations on condensed matter and life-science systems are an ex-tremely rapidly developing field at modern synchrotron radiation sources, free electron lasers, dedicated neutron research reactors and neutron spallation sources. The unique properties of both radiations, synchrotron and neutron, enable groundbreaking research in an enormously broad range of research subjects in physics, chemistry, life sciences, geoscience, materials science and engineering. The range of materials, microscopic structures, phenomena and pro-cesses, which can be studied by these methods, is nearly unlimited. Experimental methods have been developed and refined that span an incredible range of length- and timescales from picometers to meters and from femtoseconds to hours. Doing experiments at these large-scale facilities is an especially fascinating and exciting aspect of research for young scientists. Not only will they obtain unique microscopic information of structure and dynamics of matter with innovative techniques and methods, but from the start they will be familiarised with cut-ting-edge technology and work in international collaborations. With the projects of the Euro-pean X-Ray Free Electron Laser XFEL located at DESY in Hamburg and the European Spal-lation Source ESS in Lund, Sweden, the two world-leading pulsed X-ray and neutron sources will be operated in Europe. Together with the large network of national and international sources in Europe and throughout the world, these will provide excellent working conditions for users from universities, research organisations and industry.

Scattering methods employed at these sources are ideally suited to provide essential and unique contributions to the grand challenges facing modern industrial society, such as energy supply, health, environment, transport, and information technology. To this end methods and instrumentation are continuously being further refined. At modern synchrotron radiation sources, beams can be focused down to the nanoscale, allowing the study of single nano-electronic devices. With femtosecond X-ray pulses, ultrafast processes can be monitored at free-electron-laser sources. One of the anticipated major fields of application for X-ray free-electron-laser sources is femtosecond X-ray protein nanocrystallography or coherent imaging of structures of molecules by oversampling techniques. At modern high-flux neutron spalla-tion sources, on the other hand, and in combination with deuteration facilities located in prox-imity of these sources, the dynamics of biological macromolecules can be followed on a wide range of timescales, allowing the visualization of enzymatic reaction processes. Time-of-flight spectroscopy with polarisation analysis allows the study of coherent lattice and mag-netic excitations in correlated electron systems up to very high energies, thus making essential contributions to the understanding of electron correlations with the ordering phenomena and excitations of spin, lattice, charge and orbital degrees of freedom. For both types of radiation, X-ray and neutron, in-situ studies of time-dependent non-equilibrium phenomena in complex sample environments are coming more and more into the focus. These few examples taking from the vast abundance of modern applications of scattering methods suffice to demonstrate the enormous current dynamics of the field.


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