U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Applications of Synchrotron Radiation in Materials Science course

Sponsoring University:

Rice University


Applications of Synchrotron Radiation in Materials Science


Denis McWhan, retired

The use of synchrotron radiation is no longer just the province of the experts; it has become ubiquitous as a tool for the study of materials. This course will present the fundamental properties of synchrotron radiation and describe the sources that are available to scientists from universities, industry and government laboratories in the U.S. The course will then cover the wide range of different synchrotron experiments that can be used to characterize materials. The unifying theme will be to use synchrotron based experiments to understand sand, SiO_2, and the many materials that nature or scientists synthesize from it including among others flint, opal, aerogels, glass and the mainstays of the electronics industry silicon, silicon devices and optical fibers. Scientists need to understand both the atomic and electronic structure of different phases; the role and control of impurities and defects, and how surfaces differ from the bulk. These properties can be studied using diffraction, spectroscopic, and imaging techniques. With diffraction one can determine the structure of powders, single crystals, surfaces, and various synthetic multilayers. X-ray absorption spectroscopy provides both chemical and near neighbor information, and angle resolved and spin polarized photoemission and various core level spectroscopies are used to probe electronic structure. Imaging techniques include x-ray topography, x-ray microtomography, scanning x-ray microscopy and infrared spectromicroscopy. The objective of this course is to provide a materials scientist at the graduate student level and above with the basic information needed to use synchrotron based experiments in their research. Prerequisites: Familiarity with Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science at the undergraduate level.