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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S020802/1
Title: XMaS: The UK Materials Science Facility at the ESRF
Principal Investigator: Lucas, Professor CA
Other Investigators:
Grunder, Dr Y
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Liverpool
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 15 November 2018 Ends: 31 January 2024 Value (£): 3,515,607
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Catalysis & Applied Catalysis
Complex fluids & soft solids Condensed Matter Physics
Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena Materials Characterisation
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Aug 2018 Materials Beamline Facility Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Synchrotron radiation (SR) sources provide brilliant beams of light by accelerating electrons at high energies around a circular magnetic lattice. The resulting X-rays provide a uniquely powerful tool in the exploration of structure, composition and excitations in materials. The UK has been at the forefront of SR provision for decades, building the world's first dedicated facility in 1981. Insertion devices, first introduced as part of the lattice at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and then incorporated into the new magnetic lattice at the Diamond Light Source (DLS), increased the flux and beam quality, greatly increasing the impact of SR across the physical and life-science portfolios. New magnets and vacuum technologies mean that storage rings can now be designed to give X-ray beams with hugely increased brilliance (flux per unit area per unit solid angle in a specified bandwidth) and coherence. These transformative designs are redefining the SR landscape with all major facilities planning upgrades to this lattice technology.

The XMaS (X-ray Materials Science) beamline facility is part of the ESRF which, in 2019, undergoes the final phase of its upgrade programme (EBS project) with the installation of an ultra-low emittance storage ring. After the EBS upgrade the XMaS beamline will have more than an order of magnitude increase in usable flux for most experiments due to a smaller focused beam size. The new source characteristics also allow higher X-ray energies to be used and expand the scientific challenges that can currently be addressed. For the first time, it will be possible to study the same sample volume across an extensive energy range and within the same sample environment. This will enable real time reactions to be followed on a site-by-site basis, opening up new opportunities for studying materials relevant to catalysis and green chemistry applications. The facility will deliver new insights into quantum critical behaviour as well as facilitating studies of confinement and proximity in magnetic and superconducting materials at low temperatures (1-10 K). Newly combined X-ray metrologies enable structure to be measured across a wide range of length and time scales simultaneously. More systems will be studied in-operando and under technologically relevant conditions, for example, the study of ionic migration in battery systems and photovoltaics. Structural studies will become spatially resolved allowing studies of individual domains and their temporal evolution under external stimuli. An upper energy of ~33 keV will extend studies of buried interfaces in complex sample environments, for example, solid-liquid interfaces, relevant to electrochemical technologies. External stimuli including electrical and magnetic fields as well as humidity, gaseous atmospheres and temperature control (1 to 1200 K) will all be available.

XMaS is an enabling tool, and provides an essential part of the UK research infrastructure for material science ensuring that UK researchers have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation, expertise and techniques now and into the future. By providing an essential layer of capacity and unique capabilities, XMaS facilitates investigator-led research by enabling X-ray characterisation across a range of temporal and spatial length scales. In addition, by training students and early career researchers, XMaS provides highly skilled individuals to the wider materials research base. Partnerships with national research centres and international collaborators ensure the future competitiveness, resilience and creativity of the UK materials sector which relies on the development, characterisation and exploitation of novel functional materials. The balance of science on XMaS will encompass both long-term discovery-led research as well as shorter term impact-focused research thereby providing an environment for transformative, challenge-led material science research.

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Organisation Website: http://www.liv.ac.uk