Large-scale research

  Major research facilities worldwide Copyright: © IfK



A large number of exciting research questions require the use of large research institutions. Our institute combines X-ray scattering methods in the laboratory with measurements on synchrotron radiation and neutron sources in order to understand the properties of modern functional materials, but also to conduct basic research. For this purpose, small teams of around three people travel to the large research facility for a few days. Sources that we frequently use in our research are shown in the map of the world above.

Neutron sources Synchrotron sources
FRM-II, München, DE PETRA III, Hamburg, DE
ILL, Grenoble, FR BESSY, Berlin, DE
SINQ/PSI, Villigen, CH ESRF, Grenoble, FR
ISIS, Oxfordshire, UK SLS/PSI, Villigen, CH
SNS/ORNL, Knoxville, USA DLS, Oxfordshire, UK
OPAL/ANSTO, Sydney, AUS APS, Chicago, USA
NSLS-II, Brookhaven National Labs, Long Island, USA

In addition, our institute operates two single crystal neutron diffractometers at the FRM II neutron source of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Center (MLZ) in Garching, HEiDi und POLI.

There are many reasons for using synchrotrons and neutron sources. Some examples:

The high flux and the high brilliance of synchrotron radiation sources/free electron lasers allow a high time resolution for in-situ and operando measurements in catalysis or the investigation of energy materials, particle formation and crystallization, or the material behavior under external influences (temperatures, pressure, shear, etc.). Small scattering signals from phases with little concentration, interface restructuring or defects can also be detected thanks to the very good signal-to-noise ratio at the synchrotron. Neutrons have the advantage that they interact particularly well with light elements such as H, D, C or Li, which is why they allow detailed insights into soft matter (proteins, polymers), but also, for example, lithium-ion batteries. Since the neutrons interact with the atomic nuclei, the targeted use of isotopes (e.g. D instead of H) can influence the scatter signal, for example to identify structural subunits. The contrast variation of the neutrons also enables mixed crystals with neighboring elements in the periodic table on the same or different positions to precisely determine their purely statistical or modulated distribution. The magnetic moment of the neutrons provides scattering intensities comparable to those of nuclear scattering, so that magnetic order can be recorded particularly easily. This can be done particularly precisely by using polarized neutrons. For technical reasons, diffraction studies below 10 K cannot be carried out with X-ray or synchrotron sources, while neutron diffraction is normally possible down to the single-digit Kelvin range, in many cases even into the mK range, due to the higher transmission.