What can you do with the new beamline?
The Momentum and Energy Transfer Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering setup (METRIXS) facilitates spectroscopic study of materials at very high resolutions. In particular, energy bandwidths below the natural line width allow research on nuclear and charge dynamics as well as potential energy surfaces in complex systems on femtosecond timescales.
What is new about it?
METRIXS will give the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin a state-of-the-art spectrometer for resonant inelastic X-ray scattering that allows not only high-resolution studies of the electronic valence states of complex materials, but moreover observation of nuclear and charge transfer dynamics. Apart from a sample environment for solids, the METRIXS setup also offers the means for studying dilute samples such as thin films, solutions, and gases.
What is the goal?
The METRIXS project will help advance the mapping of local potential energy surfaces in complex systems. Selective excitation along specific nuclear coordinates allows measurements of chemical bonding dynamics to provide insight into reaction sequences. Photochemical processes in solar fuels can be studied with these techniques as well as efficiency of catalytic processes and the electrochemistry of energy storage.
About the project
Low-energy excitations in matter determine their functionality, i.e. drastic changes in material properties are caused by comparatively small external triggers. This kind of functionality can be utilised for storage of information, for conversion of energy, or for controlling chemical reactions.
The electronic conductivity and the catalytic activity of photocatalysts are influenced not only by the oxidation state and the configuration of the valence bands. They are also affected by the presence of equivalent long-distance interactions, orbital polarisation, and the magnetic configuration. These parameters have previously been inaccessible to researchers working in the area of energy materials.
Resonant inelastic X-ray scattering opens up new opportunities. By exciting the core electrons, electronic states and their dynamics can be selectively studied both chemically and with respect to specific atoms. This makes it possible to carry out local measurements of low-energy excitations in complex systems.
Synchrotron spectroscopy experts at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin together with their colleagues in the field of renewable energies are addressing these challenges. The Momentum and Energy Transfer RIXS (METRIXS) setup facilitates access to the parameters mentioned above for all non-equivalent atoms and in addition gives information on the potential surfaces along the vibrational and reaction coordinates as well as long-distance charge, orbital, and spin ordering. These unique insights will enable researchers to couple photocatalytic activity for instance in water splitting to the structure of the materials, which facilitates efficient and rational optimisation of synthesis processes through a short feedback loop. By crossing the classical boundaries between aggregate states, METRIXS facilitates deep insight into how to achieve elevated catalytic functionality by combining its state-of-the-art characterisation methods with materials synthesis.