Seminars Archive

Tue 7 May, at 16:30 - Seminar Room T2

A Century of X-rays and still a Brilliant Future

Gerhard Materlik
Diamond Light Source Ltd, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire, UK

X-rays can now look back on more than a century long history of great successes in science, such as discovering the atomic and electronic structure of matter and revealing the structure of our genetic code in DNA. This culminated recently again in explaining the structure and function of the ribosome which is the protein factory of life. On top of this are all the applications as a tool in physical sciences, medicine, engineering and many other fields. Developments during the second half of this centennial have very much been based on the application of synchrotron x-rays. The talk will describe this in more detail and will use Diamond Light Source in the UK to describe characteristics and research applications at a modern synchrotron light facility. Diamond successfully started operation for users in January 2007 and the facility was opened officially by the Queen in October 2007. This super-brilliant synchrotron light source is optimised for X-ray emission; however, it covers the whole spectral region from infrared to very hard X-rays. Special attention has been paid to source stability reaching beyond micrometer and microradian. These advances of source characteristics go along with leading-edge improvements of instrumentation. Modern concepts, such as fast 2-dimensional detectors, remote control of instruments and sample changes enable new applications. While X-ray diffraction gives the atomic structure, X-ray microscopy, ptychography and tomography bridge the length scale towards the micrometer scale. Electron spectroscopy, on the other hand, offers the tool to study electronic properties in surfaces and bulk of new materials for physical sciences and engineering studies. The talk will finish with a glimpse into the future of x-ray science, opened recently through the advent of X-ray Free Electron Lasers. XFELs complement advantageously the properties of synchrotron x-rays. They offer femto-second time resolution, fully coherent photons and peak brilliance up to ten orders of magnitude higher than synchrotron X-rays. First results illustrate their extraordinary potential for new scientific discoveries.

(Referer: F. Parmigiani)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 15:21