LMN News and Highlights in 2017

24 November 2017

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Extreme Ultraviolet Vortices at Free Electron Lasers

PSI scientists have developed tailored diffractive X-ray optics for a free electron laser that induces an optical vortex in extreme ultraviolet radiation. The experiment facilitates the first demonstration of orbital angular momentum in radiation created by a free electron laser in the extreme ultraviolet regime, with an extraordinary clean and defined wavefront. In a collaborative effort with researchers from the FERMI free electron laser in Trieste, Italy and from the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia, the wavefront of the intense beams carrying an orbtial angular momentum was characterized. Furthermore, a method to characterize the footprint of a focused beam from a free electron laser was refined based on ablation imprints in polymers and subsequent treatment with organic solvents. In this way, the sensitivity of the imprint method could be enhanced to a dynamic range of three orders of magnitude in a single shot.

18 August 2017

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A new RIXS analyzer scheme based on transmission zone plates

PSI scientists have developed a new type of X-ray optics that allows for analyzing the emission in resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS) experiments. The new approach combines the energy dispersion with imaging capabilities. In a collaborative effort with research groups from Göttingen and Hamburg, two new classes of RIXS experiments, energy mapping and RIXS imaging, have been demonstrated.

9 August 2017

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Single-shot Monitoring of Ultrafast Processes via X-ray Streaking at a Free Electron Laser

The advent of x-ray free electron lasers has extended the unique capabilities of resonant x-ray spectroscopy techniques to ultrafast time scales. Here, in collaboration between researchers from PSI, Sorbonne Universités, HASYLAB/DESY, Synchrotron SOLEIL, CNRS, and Uppsala University, we report on a novel experimental method that allows retrieving with a single x-ray pulse the time evolution of an ultrafast process, not only at a few discrete time delays, but continuously over an extended time window.

22 May 2017

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Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

For the first time, researchers have produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute, in collaboration with their research partners, published the findings in the journal Nature Communications.

4 April 2017

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Contact-less micro-polishing

A new method of material modification using 172 nm UV photons enables to fabricate ultra-smooth and self-optimized polymer surfaces. The method, published in Advanced Materials Technologies, was used in the production of high quality micro-optics to remove typical process flaws after a 2-photon-lithography process.

9 March 2017

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Interlaced zone plates push the resolution limit in x-ray microscopy

A novel type of diffractive lenses based on interlaced structures enable x-ray imaging at resolutions below 10 nm. The fabrication method and the test results of these novel x-ray lenses have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

9 March 2017

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Light-switching of enzymatic activity in functionalized polymer brushes

UV- and visible light-induced switching of enzymatic activity has been demonstrated using surface-grafted polymer brushes functionalized with microperoxidase MP-11 and spiropyran mojeties. Integration into an optofluidic device allowed reversible switching of the enzymatic activity under flow.

5 January 2017

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Nanotechnology enables new insights into chemical reactions

Media Releases Energy and Environment Research Using Synchrotron Light Micro- and Nanotechnology

Eighty percent of all products of the chemical industry are manufactured with catalytic processes. Catalysis is also indispensable in energy conversion and treatment of exhaust gases. Industry is always testing new substances and arrangements that could lead to new and better catalytic processes. Researchers of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI in Villigen and ETH Zurich have now developed a method for improving the precision of such experiments, which may speed up the search for optimal solutions.

LMN News and Highlights in 2016

23 December 2016

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Can a metal nanotip array device be a low-emittance and coherent cathode?

A nanofabricated low emittance field emitter array cathode was demonstrated for the first time, and successfully applied to observe the low-energy electron diffraction from suspended monolayer graphene. The work has an impact on the future development of compact X-ray free electron lasers, THz/RF vacuum electronic sources, and ultrafast electron imaging and diffraction experiments.

18 October 2016

Technology award for microneedle-optofluidic sensor System

Sahan Ranamukhaarachchi, PhD student from UBC in Vancouver, won the 2016 "Brian L. Barge Award for Excellence in Microsystems Integration" for his work on a biosensing platform with integrated hollow microneedles carried out at PSI in 2015 in collaboration with Dr. Victor Cadarso and Dr. Celestino Padeste.

6 July 2016

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Therapeutic drug monitoring in sub-nanoliter volumes

A promising system for painless and minimally-invasive therapeutic drug monitoring has been demonstrated. The proposed device combines biofunctionalized hollow microneedles with an optofluidic system to measure drug concentrations in volumes as small as 0.6 nL.

4 July 2016

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Controlling Quantum States Atom by Atom

A method to precisely alter the quantum mechanical states of electrons within an array of quantum boxes has been developped by an international consortium also including PSI. The method can be used to investigate the interactions between various types of atoms and electrons, which is essential for future quantum technologies.

6 May 2016

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Experiment in a hovering droplet

Media Releases Research Using Synchrotron Light Biology Human Health

At the PSI, the exact structure of proteins is deciphered in the standard way, with X-rays. Now two PSI researchers have used a clever trick to advance this method further: Instead of pinning down the proteins, they are studying them within a levitating drop of liquid.

11. February 2016

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A micrometer-sized model of the Matterhorn

Media Releases Matter and Material Materials Research Micro- and Nanotechnology

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute have produced large numbers of detailed models of the Matterhorn, each one less than a tenth of a millimetre in size. With this, they demonstrated how 3-D objects so delicate could be mass-produced. Materials whose surface is covered with a pattern of such tiny 3-D structures often have special properties, which could for example help to reduce the wear and tear of machine parts.