Scientific Highlights from PSI's research divisions
Research with Neutrons and Muons (NUM)
The interplay between oxygen and spin ordering for the low oxygen doped Nd2NiO4.10 has been investigated by single-crystal neutron diffraction. We find a coexistence of the magnetic order below TN with the 3D ordering of excess oxygen atoms, which has not been previously observed for the homologous nickelates. Moreover, the magnetic ordering modulation vectors are no longer independent and exactly follow the modulation vectors of the oxygen ordering.
A better understanding of quantum spin liquids (QSLs), where spin dimer configurations are fluctuating even at the low- est temperatures, could be of use in quantum information, in superconducting or other technologies. This macroscopic collective state typically arises from geometrical frustration or low dimensionality. In the layered EDT-BCO, we report a QSL state, which is generated, on different bases, with the intrinsic disorder.
Photon Science Division (PSD)
On January 30th, 2020, the WHO declared the recent outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a public health emergency of international concern. It declared that there is an urgent need to improve our understanding of the newly identified virus and its possible future evolution as well as to contain the spread; to develop precise diagnostics and treatment, and to improve the public health response and patient care.
The COVID priority access call continues and is still open in 2021.
Scientists pioneer an approach called self-referenced streaking, clocking Auger electrons with sub-femtosecond resolution. The breakthrough will unlock the broader potential for attosecond time resolution at X-ray free-electron lasers
Biology and Chemistry (BIO)
Dr. Petr Skopintsev received PSI Thesis Medal 2021 for his work on the sodium pump KR2
The European Research Council (ERC) is funding an interdisciplinary collaborative project with 10 million euros for the structural and biophysical analysis of selected photoreceptors and their development into "OptoGPCRs", light-controlled molecular switches with a wide range of applications in biology and medicine.
General Energy (ENE)
Urs Baltensperger explains the background why it is absolutely necessary to wear masks in order to reduce the risk of beeing infected with Covid-19.
In the following you find the presentation and summary
Spätestens seit Corona ist der Maskengebrauch auch in der Schweiz im Alltag präsent. Doch wie gut können wir uns und andere mit verschieden Materialien vor kleineren und grösseren Partikeln schützen? Das alljährlich durchgeführte PSI Feriencamp bietet Kindern einen spannenden Einblick in die faszinierende Welt der Forschung. In diesem Jahr gingen Kinder an einer Projektstation genau dieser Frage nach. Dabei untersuchten sie, wie gut verschiedene Materialien die im Labor generierten Partikel zurückhalten. Es wurden Textilmasken (im Handel erhältlich, wiederverwendbar, nicht FFP2-zertifiziert), Chirurgenmasken (Einwegmasken, FFP2-zertifiziert), Teefilter, Kaffeefilter, Papiertaschentuch und WC-Papier getestet, und es wurde klar, Maske ist nicht gleich Maske.
Nuclear Energy and Safety Research (NES)
The Hot Laboratory division (AHL) within PSI’s Nuclear Energy and Safety (NES) division continually upgrades and advances its analytical infrastructure to provide cutting-edge scientific service to PSI’s researchers and industrial customers. A new, fully automatable and highly flexible Ion Chromatograph (IC) furthers AHL’s efforts in sample miniaturization and extends the spectrum of destructive analytical capabilities to element and speciation specific analyses. With the new IC and its modern ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry) facilities, AHL offers innovative scientific options for nuclear and general research. Moreover, speciation analyses by IC-ICP-MS for polyvalent inorganic water pollutants such as Cr or As and the acquisition of a new ICP-OES system (Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry) enable future autonomy in wastewater management.
Geological waste disposal, cement clay interaction
• A considerable reduction of HTO and 36Cl− was observed after 6 years interaction.
• The chloride flux showed a much stronger reduction compared to HTO.
• For HTO the relation between the De and the porosity in the clay part can be described using Archie's law.
• No complete clogging of the porosity was observed after 6 years interaction.
We have produced hard x-ray free-electron laser (FEL) radiation with unprecedented large bandwidth tunable up to 2%. The experiments have been carried out at SwissFEL, the x-ray FEL facility at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. The bandwidth is enhanced by maximizing the energy chirp of the electron beam, which is accomplished by optimizing the compression setup. We demonstrate continuous tunability of the bandwidth with a simple method only requiring a quadrupole magnet. The generation of such broadband FEL pulses will improve the efficiency of many techniques such as x-ray crystallography and spectroscopy, opening the door to significant progress in photon science. It has already been demonstrated that the broadband pulses of SwissFEL are beneficial to enhance the performance of crystallography, and further SwissFEL users plan to exploit this large bandwidth radiation to improve the efficiency of their measurement techniques.
The emittance is a fundamental parameter of particle distributions accounting for the average spread of the particles’ positions and momenta. We have generated and characterized intense ultralow-emittance electron beams, setting new standards for electron linear accelerators. The measurements have been carried out at the SwissFEL accelerator of PSI. SwissFEL is one of the few X-ray free-electron lasers (FELs) worldwide, which are cutting-edge research instruments to investigate matter with resolutions at the level of atomic processes.