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Ultrafast X-ray and electron microscopy


Imaging the nanoworld is critical for discovery and innovation in every branch of science and technology - including materials, biological, nano, and energy sciences, as well as nanoelectronics, data storage, and medicine. At LUXEM, we develop and utilize innovative methods for ultrafast in-situ and in-operando microscopy characterized by femtosecond (10-15 s) time- and Ångstrom-to-nanometer spatial resolution []. We harness these high-tech experimental set-ups to study structure-property relationships in novel nanomaterials from hierarchical nanoparticles assembly, watching transport processes occur at interfaces in real-time. We do so through novel experimental scattering and imaging techniques which integrate tabletop (High-Harmonic Generation) and facility (synchrotrons, Free-Electron Lasers) pulsed X-rays and electrons sources [].

Our research goals:

  • Understand the role of heterogeneity, interfaces, disorder in 2/3D nanostructured assemblies.
  • Characterize hierarchical architectures beyond equilibrium.
  • Control with ultrashort light pulses hierarchical architectures in which targeted functionality changes with assembly, heterogeneity, disorder.
  • Explore structure-property relationships, while functionality occurs.
  • Correlate Micro- (structure/size/chemical composition) and Macroscopic (optical, mechanical) properties.
  • Exploit advances in imaging modalities across multiple scales and in the ultrafast domain.
  • Prototype new experimental characterization methods that can be made available to the public.

Our young and vibrant group features established collaborations with international research academic and industry partners in Switzerland, Germany and the U.S.A. where internships and/or research visits are also possible. Research at LUXEM is supported by funding from the European Research Council, the Italian Ministry of University and Research, Cariplo Foundation, Regione Lombardia [].

Principal investigator: Giulia Fulvia Mancini
Group members: Carmelo Grova, Simone Restelli, Nicola Giani, Claudia Schrama
External Collaborators: Daniel E. Adams (Colorado School of Mines, USA); Fabrizio Carbone (EPFL, CH); Laura Cattaneo (Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg, D); FERMI FELs- Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste (I)