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Table-top soft X-ray spectroscopy and excitation dynamics of photoactive molecular systems

English title Table-top soft X-ray spectroscopy and excitation dynamics of photoactive molecular systems
Applicant Cirelli Claudio
Number 169454
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Eidg. Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt (EMPA)
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology - EMPA
Main discipline Physical Chemistry
Start/End 01.10.2016 - 31.03.2021
Approved amount 339'054.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Physical Chemistry
Plasma Physics

Keywords (6)

laboratory-scale source; soft X-ray spectroscopy; catalytic reactions; charge transfer dynamics; plasma lasers; free electron laser

Lay Summary (Italian)

Lead
L'obiettivo di questo progetto è lo sviluppo di una sorgente table-top compatta al fine di realizzare in laboratorio esperimenti di spettroscopia con raggi X. Tali esperimenti risulterebbero complementari a quelli attualmente realizzabili solamente con luce generatata da sincrotroni o Free Electron Laser.
Lay summary

Tecniche spettroscopiche a raggi X sono ideali per studiare la proprieta' chimiche ed elettriche dei materiali, grazie alla loro corta lunghezza d'onda dei fotoni X ed alla loro conseguente alta energia.

Negli ultimi anni macchine di grandi dimensioni come i sincrotroni si sono dimostrate efficienti sorgenti di raggi X, grazie alle quali sono stati possibili grandi progressi scientifici e tecnologici. Ulteriori progressi sono attesi grazie allo sviluppo di nuove sorgenti a raggi X come i Free-Electron-Laser (FELs), che renderanno possibile lo studio di dinamiche di nuclei ed elettroni ad altissima risoluzione spaziale e temporale. Diverse strutture FEL sono attualmente in costruzione in diverse parti del mondo, ma il numero sara' necessariamente limitato per via dei grandi costi e conseguentemente anche il loro accesso.

Per questo motivo, e' particolarmente importante investire nello sviluippo di sorgenti piu' compatte, capaci di fornire prestazioni complementari, seppure inferiori, nei confronti di sincrotroni e FEL. Il vantaggio risiederebbe nella possibilita' di utilizzare tali sorgenti in modo continuativo, senza dover sottostare allo schema di presentazione ed approvazione di proposte per accesso alle strutture. Sorgenti di raggi X che emettono radiazione di tipo laser sono molto accattivanti perche' compatte e perche' offrono la possibilita' di generare raggi X in impulsi di lunghezza temporale pari a pochi picosecondi e con intensita' addirittura superiori ai sincrotroni, seppure inferiori a quella di un FEL.

Questo progetto mira a sviluppare una sorgente di raggi X da laboratorio, compatta, con lo scopo di studiare le proprieta' chimiche e fisiche di molecole diluite in soluzione. Il fatto che la radiazione venga generata in impulsi di breve durata offre la possiblita' di progettare schemi sperimentali volti allo studio di dinamiche con risoluzione temporale dell'ordine di pochi picosecondi.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.09.2016

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
The scope of this project is the development of a table-top X-ray source for performing X-ray spectroscopy studies in a complementary way with respect to large scale facilities like synchrotrons and Free Eletcron Lasers.
Lay summary

The chemical environment of an active site in a molecule reveals information about its role and functionality in chemical reactions. Because of their short wavelength and consequently high photon energy, X-ray-based spectroscopic techniques are ideally suited to provide analytical tools for characterizing the chemical environment of individual scattering centers in a compound and thus the whole electronic structures of materials.

In the last decades, synchrotrons have provided invaluable sources of X-rays, which eventually have led to significant progress in many areas of science and technology. Such an impact is expected to grow even further with the development of X-ray free-electron lasers (FELs), which enable the investigation of nuclear and electron dynamics with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. Several X-ray FEL facilities are currently under construction, however due to the very large cost and scale, the number of facilities and consequently beamtime access is expect to remain extremely limited.

There is a strong interest into the development of complementary table-top extreme ultraviolet (XUV) and soft X-ray sources, possibly even with less advanced performances, to allow a broader set of users to explore new applications. Plasma-driven sources are of great interest because of the demonstration to produce XUV and soft X-ray pulses as short as a few picoseconds and with peak brilliances larger than synchrotrons (although still below FELs).

This project aims to developing a plasma-driven table-top XUV source as a novel analytical technique to characterize chemical and physical properties of single molecules in solution. The generation of soft X-rays pulses provides the additional possibility to design pump-probe schemes to study dynamics down to the picosecond time scale.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.09.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
133564 "ELAN" - EUV Laser for Actinic Nano-imaging. 01.09.2011 SNSF Professorships

Abstract

The chemical environment of an active site in a molecule reveals information about its role and functionality in chemical reactions. Because of their short wavelength and consequently high photon energy X-ray-based spectroscopic techniques are ideally suited to provide analytical tools for characterizing the chemical environment of individual scattering centers in a compound and thus the whole electronic structures of materials.X-ray radiation is conventionally classified between “hard” and “soft”, depending if the photon energy is higher or lower than 5 keV (corresponding to 0.5 nm wavelength). Both types of radiation can give insight into the local atomic environment of each separate element in a compound because of their elemental sensitivity, however, due to their much higher absorption cross section soft X-rays are preferred when the concentration of the interacting center is reduced, like in the case of thin films and interfaces or single molecules in solution.In the last decades, synchrotrons have provided invaluable sources of soft (and hard) X-rays, which eventually have led to significant progress in many areas of science and technology. Such an impact is expected to grow even further with the development of X-ray free-electron lasers (FELs), which are able to produce coherent, intense, femtosecond bursts of X-rays, enabling the investigation of nuclear and electron dynamics in chemical reactions, materials and biological systems with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution.Several X-ray FEL facilities are currently under construction, however due to the very large cost and scale, the number of facilities and consequently beamtime access is expect to remain extremely limited. There is a strong interest into the development of complementary table-top extreme ultraviolet (XUV) and soft X-ray sources, possibly even with less advanced performances, to allow a broader set of users to explore new applications. Plasma-driven sources are of great interest because of the demonstration to produce XUV and soft X-ray pulses as short as a few picoseconds and with peak brilliances larger than synchrotrons (although still below FELs). It is proposed to develop in our laboratory at Empa a plasma-driven table-top XUV source as a novel analytical technique to characterize chemical and physical properties of single molecules in solution. The generation of soft X-rays pulses provides the additional possibility to design pump-probe schemes to study dynamics down to the picosecond time scale.The project is organized along two main research lines: (1) experiments at large scale facilities will both bring novel scientific results on catalytic samples in solution and provide benchmark information for the (2) development of a table-top XUV and soft X-ray source with the final goal of addressing the same scientific cases studied at large scale facilities with a laboratory scale system. It is envisaged that such a source can be complementary to large scale facilities and possibly serve as a platform for sample testing and beamtime qualification to FELs. In particular the existence of an easily accessible laboratory-based setup is attractive both for a wide range of Swiss and international user groups, who can prepare experiments for SwissFEL, and for SwissFEL itself because it will increase the effectiveness of the PSI facility for one of the its expected fields of impact: ultrafast liquid-phase chemistry.
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