Scientific Highlights

27 September 2022
SAF Skyrmion Nucleation

Nucleation of synthetic antiferromagnetic skyrmions

Magnetic skyrmions stabilized in synthetic antiferromagnets hold promise as nanoscale information carriers in novel non-volatile magnetic memory designs. In this work, scientists in a worldwide collaborative effort have demonstrated the electrically-induced nucleation of magnetic skyrmions in synthetic antiferromagnets, which is a vital stepping stone towards the applicability of these magnetic textures in devices.

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26 September 2022
STXM images of ferrimagnetic skyrmions

Ferrimagnetic Skyrmions: fast and straight

Scientists have demonstrated, through magnetic X-ray microscopy, that magnetic skyrmions stabilized in ferrimagnetic heterostructures can be displaced by electrical currents at high velocities, and exhibit low deflection angles, proving that ferrimagnetic skyrmions are good candidates for fast skyrmionic devices.

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20 April 2022
Peter Alpert working in the laboratory

Light amplification accelerates chemical reactions in aerosols

Aerosols in the atmosphere react to incident sunlight. This light is amplified in the interior of the aerosol droplets and particles, accelerating reactions. ETH and PSI researchers have now been able to demonstrate and quantify this effect and recommend factoring it into future climate models.

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8 April 2022

Into the fourth dimension: time-resolved soft X-ray laminography

Combining time-resolved soft X-ray STXM imaging with magnetic laminography, researchers were able to investigate magnetization dynamics in a ferromagnetic microstructure resolved in all three spatial dimensions and in time. Thanks to the possibility of freely selecting the frequency of the excitation applied to the magnetic element, this technique opens the possibility to investigate resonant magneto-dynamical processes, such as e.g. magnetic vortex core gyration and switching, and spinwave emission.

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18 March 2021
X-ray images reveal near-surface oxidation and radicals in the interior of submicrometer particles.

Looking inside airborne particles for the chemistry responsible for their adverse health effects.

Chemical changes inside of breathable airborne particles can cause reactive oxygen species (ROS) and carbon centered radicals (CCRs) to form, which are harmful to our bodies and induce oxidative stress in lungs. Using X-ray spectromicroscopy at the PolLux beamline and mimicking the environmental and sunlit conditions aerosol particles experience in the atmosphere near the Earth Surface, it was recently found that highly viscous organic particles with low water content can attain high concentrations of ROS and CCRs that persist over long times. Natural particles like these will occur in ambient humidity below 60% and effectively trap ROS and CCRs inside that react when exposed to light.

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9 November 2020
High-resolution X-ray microscopy of a test pattern with 9 nm line width

World Record: 7 nm Resolution in Scanning Soft X-ray Microscopy

During the past decade, scientists have put high effort to achieve sub-10 nm resolution in X-ray microscopy. Recent developments in high-resolution lithography-based diffractive optics, combined with the extreme stability and precision of the PolLux and HERMES scanning X-ray microscopes, resulted now in a so far unreached resolution of seven nanometers in scanning soft X-ray microscopy. Utilizing this highly precise microscopy technique with the X-ray magnetic circular dichroism effect, dimensionality effects in an ensemble of interacting magnetic nanoparticles can be revealed.

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