Scientific Highlighs Swiss Light Source (SLS) 2015

17 December 2015
Three-dimensional rendering of two cells in their medium confined in a glass microcapillary of about 18 micron diameter. Colors indicate different organelle types with different mass densities.

Mass density distribution of intact cell ultrastructure

The determination of the mass density of cellular compartments is one of the many analytical tools that biologists need to unravel the extremely complex structure of biological systems. Cryo X-ray nanotomography reveals absolute mass density maps of frozen hydrated cells in three dimensions.

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19 November 2015

3D nanostructure of a bone made visible

Media Releases Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light Human Health

Bones are made up of tiny fibres that are roughly a thousand times finer than a human hair. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have developed a new computer-based algorithm with which they were able to visualize the localised order and alignment of these nanostructures inside an entire piece of bone for the first time.

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16 November 2015
Schematic of a Weyl semimetal with spin polarized Fermi arcs on its surfaces connecting the projections of two Weyl nodes with opposite chirality.

Observation of Fermi-Arc Spin Texture in TaAs

The study of nontrivial topological semimetals (TSM) is an emerging subject, providing a new frontier in topological aspects beyond insulators. Here, we have investigated the spin texture of surface Fermi arcs in the recently discovered Weyl semimetal TaAs using spin- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. The experimental results demonstrate that the Fermi arcs are spin polarized. The measured spin texture fulfills the requirement of mirror and time-reversal symmetries and is well reproduced by our first-principles calculations, which gives strong evidence for the topologically nontrivial Weyl semimetal state in TaAs. The consistency between the experimental and calculated results further confirms the distribution of chirality of the Weyl nodes determined by first principles calculations.

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12 November 2015

Electron’s cousin discovered after eighty-six-year search

Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light

In a series of experiments at the Swiss Light Source SLS, physicists from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have discovered a particle, the existence of which was predicted eighty-six years ago. It is a member of the particle family that also includes the electron, the carrier of electrical currents. The particle now discovered is massless and can exist only within a special class of materials known as Weyl semi-metals.

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5 November 2015

Structure of concrete disease solved

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Matter and Material

When bridges, dam walls and other structures made of concrete are streaked with dark cracks after a few decades, the culprit is the so-called the concrete disease. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and Empa have now solved the structure of the material produced in these cracks at atomic level - and have thereby discovered a previously unknown crystalline arrangement of the atoms.

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29 October 2015

X-ray research in the UFO

Matter and Material Large Research Facilities Research Using Synchrotron Light

At first glance, the Swiss Light Source SLS stands out as a striking building. The inside reveals a setting of cutting-edge research. A journey through a world where electrons race a slalom course and X-rays help decode proteins.

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8 September 2015

The key to charging a lithium-ion battery rapidly

Media Releases Energy and Environment Research Using Synchrotron Light

Lithium iron phosphate batteries are very durable and can be charged relatively quickly. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), ETH Zurich and Japanese car manufacturer Toyota reveal the reasons for these properties in a new study. The findings were made possible thanks to measurements using a new method at the Swiss Light Source (SLS) at PSI.

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3 September 2015

In search of the smallest bit

Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research

For increasingly compact storage media, magnetic areas – the memory bits – also need to become smaller and smaller. But just how small can a magnet be? Frithjof Nolting and his colleagues at the Paul Scherrer Institute investigate the surprising phenomena in the field of nanomagnetism.

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7 August 2015
3D image of the buckyball structure investigated. In the right picture the distribution of Cobalt is shown in orange. (The solid line corresponds to 1 micrometre or 1 thousandth of a millimetre).

Element-Specific X-Ray Phase Tomography of 3D Structures at the Nanoscale

Recent advances in fabrication techniques to create mesoscopic 3D structures have led to significant developments in a variety of fields including biology, photonics, and magnetism. Further progress in these areas benefits from their full quantitative and structural characterization.

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18 June 2015
Schematics of the iMott spin detector attached to an ARPES analyzer.

Concept of a multichannel spin-resolving electron analyzer based on Mott scattering

The spin of electron plays a crucial role in many physical phenomena, ranging from the obvious example of magnetism, via novel materials for spintronics applications, to high-temperature superconductivity. Spin- and angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (SARPES) gives the most direct access to the spin aspects of the electronic structure, but the one-channel detection principle of all presently available SARPES spectrometers severely limits their efficiency. A team of Swiss and Russian scientists has developed a revolutionary concept of a multichannel electron spin detector based on Mott scattering as the spin selective process and imaging-type electron optics.

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18 June 2015
(a) Rhombohedral distortion of the pseudocubic La1−xSrxMnO3 lattice; (b) GGA+U theoretical FS; (c,d) Experimental FS cross-sections, with the shadow contours manifesting the lattice distortion.

Fermi Surface of Three-Dimensional La1−xSrxMnO3 Explored by Soft-X-Ray ARPES: Rhombohedral Lattice Distortion and its Effect on Magnetoresistance

A research team led by scientists from the Swiss Light Source has for the first time established three-dimensional (3D) electronic structure of the perovskite compound La1−xSrxMnO3 connected with its colossal magnetoresistance. Instrumental for this study has been the use of the new experimental technique of soft-x-ray ARPES, available at the ADRESS beamline, with its intrinsically sharp definition of 3D electron momentum.

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26 March 2015

Multiresolution X-ray tomography, getting a clear view of the interior

Researchers at PSI have developed a technique that combines tomography measurements at different resolution levels to allow quantitative interpretation for nanoscale tomography on an interior region of interest of the sample. In collaboration with researchers of the institute AMOLF in the Netherlands and ETH Zurich in Switzerland they showcase their technique by studying the porous structure within a section of an avian eggshell. The detailed measurements of the interior of the sample allowed the researchers to quantify the ordering and distribution of an intricate network of pores within the shell.

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20 March 2015

Nanometres in 3D

Media Releases Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Micro- and Nanotechnology

Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute and ETH Zurich have created 3D images of tiny objects showing details down to 25 nanometres. In addition to the shape, the scientists determined how particular chemical elements were distributed in their sample and whether these elements were in a chemical compound or in their pure state.

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12 January 2015

Batman lights the way to compact data storage

Media Releases Matter and Material Research Using Synchrotron Light Materials Research

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have succeeded in switching tiny, magnetic structures using laser light and tracking the change over time. In the process, a nanometre-sized area bizarrely reminiscent of the Batman logo appeared. The research results could render data storage on hard drives faster, more compact and more efficient.

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12 January 2015
Magnetization dynamics inside a 5 µm x 5 µm structure.(a) Time-resolved PEEM images using XMCD as a magnetic contrast mechanism recorded at a given time delay t after the laser pulse and (b) extracted XMCD contrast as a function of the time delay t for three different ROI, defined in the inset image by the coloured area superimposed on the non-dichroic X-ray absorption of the structure. The 0° incoming laser direction with respect to the structure edge is indicated in the inset by the laser in-plane wave v…

Nanoscale sub-100 picosecond all-optical magnetization switching in GdFeCo microstructure

Ultrafast magnetization reversal driven by femtosecond laser pulses has been shown to be a promising way to write information. Seeking to improve the recording density has raised intriguing fundamental questions about the feasibility of combining ultrafast temporal resolution with sub-wavelength spatial resolution for magnetic recording. Here we report on the experimental demonstration of nanoscale sub-100 ps all-optical magnetization switching, providing a path to sub-wavelength magnetic recording.

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