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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V036114/1
Title: KB mirror project for XMaS
Principal Investigator: Hase, Professor TPA
Other Investigators:
Lucas, Professor CA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 13 November 2020 Ends: 31 December 2023 Value (£): 468,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Complex fluids & soft solids
Electrochemical Science & Eng. Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena
Materials Characterisation Surfaces & Interfaces
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
29 Sep 2020 Core Equipment Award 2020 - Panel 1 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Synchrotron radiation (SR) sources provide brilliant beams of light by accelerating electrons at high energies around a magnetic lattice. The resulting X-rays provide a uniquely powerful tool in the exploration of structure, composition and excitations in materials. 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.

The XMaS (X-ray Materials Science) beamline facility is embedded in the ESRF which, in 2019, began the final phase of its upgrade programme (EBS project). The new source characteristics also allow higher X-ray energies to be used and expand the scientific challenges that can currently be addressed. To maximise the flux that interacts with the sample, the x-ray beam is focussed using a mirror. The current "spot size" is about 100x100 microns which is sufficient for many experiments, but for inhomogeneous materials or in materials which are composed of small domains the large beam effectively averages over many parts of the sample meaning the data can be difficult to interpret. A smaller spot size, commensurate with the relevant length-scales in materials is therefore needed for certain experiments and we propose to use a new mirror to re-focus the beam down to a spot size of 5x5 microns or less. Although lower in absolute flux, the size of the small beam can be changed allowing users to match the beam size to either the sample size, the relevant sample features and crucially to access the active areas in technologically relevant devices. All of these experiments will exploit the sample environments already developed and allow studies in situ and under realistic operating conditions. Using x-rays of a scannable energy (monochromatic) in either scattering or spectroscopic modes allows crystallographic and elemental properties to be spatially resolved and mapped. The system also delivers a new polychromatic source in which energies from 3 to 20 keV are simultaneously focused into the same small, tuneable micro-spot and allows high throughput elemental mapping and grain-by-grain determination of crystallography.

The uplift in capability allows the study of the same small sample volume across an extensive energy range and within the same sample environment to be studied 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 healthcare and quantum critical behaviour as well as facilitating studies of confinement and proximity in real devices. More systems will be studied in-operando and under technologically relevant conditions. Structural studies will become spatially resolved allowing studies of individual domains and their temporal evolution under external stimuli. An upper energy of ~20 keV will allow studies of buried interfaces in complex sample environments including solid-liquid interfaces relevant to electrochemical technologies.

XMaS is an enabling tool and provides an essential part of the UK research infrastructure for material science ensuring UK researchers have continual 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 and enables the training of students and early career researchers. 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 using the latest x-ray metrologies.

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