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CristallinaXTREME: X-ray Diffraction under Extreme Conditions

Applicant Chang Johan
Number 183330
Funding scheme R'EQUIP
Research institution Physik-Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Condensed Matter Physics
Start/End 01.11.2019 - 31.10.2022
Approved amount 1'000'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Condensed Matter Physics
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences

Keywords (3)

SwissFEL; Extreme conditions; X-ray diffraction

Lay Summary (German)

Das Projekt ‘CristallinaXTREME: X-ray diffraction under extreme conditions’ wird eine neue Klasse von Experimenten ermöglichen, die extreme Bedingungen von Temperatur und Magnetfeld mit den ultrakurzen Pulse vom SwissFEL Röntgenlaser am Paul Scherrer Institut kombinieren wird. Somit werden neue Perspektiven zur Entwicklung Quantentechnlogien nächster Generation eröffnet.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojektes

Das Ziel des Projektes ist die Beschaffung und die Installation von experimenteller Infrastruktur am SwissFEL Röntgenlaser, die es ermöglichen wird, Messungen an Systeme bei ultratiefen Temperaturen und ultrahohe Magnetfelder durchzuführen. Die Instrumentierung zur Erzeugung dieser extremen Bedingungen ist ein Beitrag der Projektpartner. Die neue Infrastruktur beinhaltet Komponenten zur Gestaltung und Ueberwachung vom Röntgenstrahl, sowie Platformen zum Betrieb der Extrembedingunginstrumentierung.

Wissenschaftlicher und sozialer Kontext des Forschungsprojektes

Die Eigenschaften von Quantenmaterie sind durch Quanteneffekte dominiert. Deren Verständnis ist essentiell zur Entwicklung von neuen Quantentechnlogien, die versprechen, Computertechnik und Informatik zu revolutionieren.

Das Quantenregime ist typischerweise bei kondensierter Materie realisiert, die extremen Bedingungen ausgesetzt ist. Dabei haben ultrakurze Röntgenpulse das Potential, sich als die nicht-invasive Untersuchungsmethode par excellence zu etablieren. Somit wird die weltweit einzigartige Kombination eines Röntgenlasers mit den extremen Probenbedingungen an einer dedizierten Experimentierstation dazu beitragen, das Paul Scherrer Institut in führender Position im Feld der Quantentechnologien zu bringen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.11.2019

Lay Summary (English)

The project ‘CristallinaXTREME: X-ray diffraction under extreme conditions’ will enable a new class of experiments that combine extreme conditions of magnetic field and temperature with the ultrashort X-ray flashes provided by the SwissFEL X-ray free electron laser operational at the Paul Scherrer institute, opening new prospects to the development of next generation quantum technologies.
Lay summary

Content and goal of the research project

The goal of the project is to procure and install state-of-the-art experimental infrastructure at the SwissFEL X-ray free electron laser facility that will enable investigations on systems subject to ultralow temperatures and ultrahigh magnetic fields. The instrumentation to generate the extreme conditions is provided in-kind by the project partners. The new infrastructure will include the elements to shape and monitor the X-rays for the needs of the experiments, as well as the platforms to operate the heavy-weight instruments.

Scientific and social context of the research project

The properties of quantum matter are dominated by quantum effects, and understanding its properties is essential for the development of the new quantum-based technologies which promise to revolutionize the field of computation and informatics.

The quantum matter regime is typically encountered in condensed matter exposed to extreme condition environments, for which ultrashort X-ray flashes have the potential as the non-invasive investigation tool par excellence. Therefore, the worldwide unique combination of an X-ray free electron laser with extreme sample conditions at a dedicated experimental station will contribute promoting the Paul Scherrer institute to a worldwide leading position in the field of quantum technology.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.11.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Project partner

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
162671 Investigation of the quantum and vortex phases of CeCoIn5 at ultra-low temperatures 01.02.2017 Project funding
155873 Quantum MAny-body Physics in Solids 01.08.2015 SNSF Starting Grants
179097 Electron-Donation for Superconductivity 01.01.2019 SNSF Professorships
166271 Nonlinear Probes of quantum localized systems 01.03.2017 Project funding


The success of a large-scale facility depends crucially on the source ifself and the instrumentation. SwissFEL, inaugurated in 2017, will be one of only a handful state-of-the-art hard x-ray free electron laser worldwide. At SwissFEL’s Aramis beamline, currently two endstations are being commissioned for user experiments that will start in 2019. The Alvra endstation is dedicated to pump-probe spectroscopy of ultrafast dynamics of photochemical and photobiological systems, wheras the Bernina endstation is designed for exploration of femtosecond dynamics in condensed matter. As it stands, these are the prime scientific topics addressed by SwissFEL.The hutch for the third enstation, Cristallina, exists but is currently standing empty. This R’equip project proposes to widen the scope of the SwissFEL by constructing a endstation for single-shot x-ray diffraction of matter under extreme conditions. The instrument, dubbed CristallinaXTREME, is foreseen to occupy only parts of the entire Cristallina hutch, leaving space for the initiative of consortia, as for example an instrument dedicated to serial femtosecond crystallography.Whereas experiments at the Alvra and Bernina endstations will primarily utilize SwissFEL’s femtosecond time structure for ultrafast x-ray scattering and spectroscopy, the spirit of CristallinaEXTREME is to synchronize x-ray pulses with temporal “spikes” of extreme sample environment. In particular, this will enable i). x-ray diffraction of matter exposed to pressures as high as in giant gas planets or huge rock exoplanets, ii). x-ray diffraction experiments of quantum matter systems in pulsed and static magnetic fields that are up to hundred thousand times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, iii). temperatures varied over six orders of magnitudes - from milli-Kelvins to thousands of Kelvins - depending on the experimental requirements.In this fashion, the CristallinaXTREME project is going to diversify significantly the scientific platform of SwissFEL. The consortium is coordinated by Prof. J. Chang (UZH) and consists of four teams with complementary expertise and proven track-records in their respective fields. The three sample environments foreseen at this stage, are already funded via other funding channels and are overseen by separate sub-project leaders: Prof. J. Chang (UZH, pulsed magnetic fields), Dr. S. Gerber (PSI, low temperatures) and Prof. M. Murakami (ETHZ, high pressures). This R’Equip proposal request funding for the CristallinaXTREME endstation which will be overseen by the PSI co-applicants Dr. B. Pedrini and Dr. L. Patthey.