First-year operational results of the MAX IV 3 GeV ring

If you fly over MAX IV right now and look down, you’ll see a large circular building. The reason for this size and shape is the 528-meter-long 3GeV storage ring which precisely guides bunches of electrons traveling at velocities approaching the speed of light. As the electrons pass through arrays of magnets called insertion devices, they produce bright X-rays which are then used by beamline scientists to do many different types of experiments.

In an article published this month in the Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, the 3 GeV ring team led by Pedro Tavares describe the results for the first year of operation. This important milestone in the MAX IV project provides validation for many of the brand-new concepts that were implemented in the MAX IV design in order to improve the performance of the machine and reduce downtime.

>Read more on the MAX IV Laboratory website

 

Synchrotrons in Black and White

Recently on social media, a number of synchrotrons have taken part in the Black and White Challenge. The rules are simple, each facility must take a photo every day, in black and white with no people and post it on social media. You are not allowed to explain what is in the photo or why you chose to post it, you must also nominate one more account to take up the challenge every day.

A few weeks ago, MAX IV was nominated by both ESRF and ALBA Synchrotron to take part in the challenge and we accepted. Below are examples from each challenge, along with links to all the photos on Twitter (account not required).

This is a good opportunity to follow our various social media accounts if you haven’t already. We are very active and post exclusive content there that can’t be found anywhere else.

>Read more on the MAX IV Laboratory website

Science Village gets go-ahead to start construction

The detailed development plan for Science Village gets a green light from the Government of Sweden which means that the construction of important support infrastructure for MAX IV and ESS can now start.

“This decision is obviously good for us. We welcome it and we have been waiting for a long time. We are happy for several reasons ­– in general, MAX IV needs neighbors to interact with, so this is an important step in that direction.  The first project for us is the SPACE building that will be constructed for ESS and MAX IV in the near future. In the somewhat more distant future, Lund University plan to move a significant part of their activities to Brunnshög. For that, a green light from the government is mandatory and very much appreciated”, says Christoph Quitmann, Director of MAX IV.

>Read more about the Science Village.

Illustration: ESS

MAX IV becomes the first synchrotron to successfully trial neon venting from CERN

The vacuum chambers of MAXIV are only 22 mm of diameter; the chamber size was chosen in order to fit inside the compact magnets of the storage ring. Due to the small diameter of the chamber, the conventional way of pumping using lumped pumps is not efficient nor practical, accordingly, the vacuum system of the 3 GeV storage ring is fully NEG (non-evaporable getter) coated vacuum system.
NEG coating provides the needed pumping and reduces the outgassing due to the photons hitting the chamber walls. For NEG coating to be pumping down it should be activated, activation means that the coating should be heated up to around 200˚C, consequently, any venting to atmosphere will cause the NEG coating to be saturated (can not pump) and should be followed with NEG activation to restore the coating performance. At MAX IV, in order to activate the NEG coating, a major intervention is needed, where the whole achromat (23 m) should be lifted and heated up inside an oven. Such an intervention would last from 2 weeks (if the achromat does not have insertion devices) up to 4 weeks (for achromats with insertion devices).

>Read more on the MAX IV Laboratory website

 

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for N. Mårtensson

The Helmholtz Association has presented the Swedish physicist Nils Mårtensson with a Helmholtz International Fellow Award. 

The synchrotron expert of the University of Uppsala, who heads the nobel comitee for physics, cooperates closely with the HZB-Institute Methods and Instrumentation for Synchrotron Radiation Research. Nils Mårtensson is a professor at Uppsala University. He directed the development of the Swedish synchrotron radiation source Max IV and received a grant from the European Research Council (ERC) in 2013. Mårtensson is a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences and chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics. At HZB, he cooperates with Alexander Föhlisch’s team at HZB-Institute Methods and Instrumentation for Synchrotron Radiation Research. Together they run the Uppsala Berlin Joint Laboratory (UBjL) to further develop methods and instruments.

Image: Nils Mårtensson, University of Uppsala, cooperates closely with HZB.

Linac team has reached major milestones

A big milestone was reached for the MAX IV linear accelerator end of May 2018.

The electron bunches accelerated in the linac was compressed to a time duration below 100 femtoseconds (fs). That means that they were shorter than 1*10^-13s. In fact, we could measure a pulse duration as low as 65 fs FWHM.

The RMS bunch length was then recorded at 32 fs. These results were achieved using only the first of the 2 electron bunch compressors in the MAX IV linac and shows not only that we can deliver short electron bunches, but also that the novel concept adopted in the compressors is working according to theory and simulations.

The ultra-short electron pulses are used to create X-ray pulses with the same short time duration in the linac based light source SPF (Short Pulse Facility). These bursts of X-rays can then be used to make time resolved measurements on materials, meaning you can make a movie of how reactions happen between parts of a molecule.

>Read more on the MAX IV Laboratory website

Picture: Linac team at MAX IV.

First serial crystallography experiments performed at BioMAX

BioMAX has successfully performed the first serial crystallography experiments at the beamline. This new method is performed at room temperature which allows structural biologists to study their molecules at more biologically relevant conditions. The technique can also be used on smaller crystals which will alleviate some of the restrictions for molecules such as membrane proteins, that do not typically form large crystals. Eventually, it is hoped that this technique will allow users at the BioMAX and MicroMAX beamlines to take snapshots of the dynamic states of proteins in rapid succession giving a dynamic view of protein movement and activity.

The serial crystallography technique promises to be very useful to users of both synchrotrons and XFELs. Over the course of one experiment, users were able to measure between 20 and 50 crystals every second, resulting in 20 TB of data from just 3 proteins. BioMAX hopes to quickly master this complex technique in order to offer it to users as soon as possible. It also gives us a glimpse of what will be possible at the newly funded MicroMAX beamline.

>Read more on the MAX IV Laboratory website

Image: BioMAX serial crystallography setup using a High Viscosity Extrusion (HVE) injector specially designed for the BioMAX endstation by Bruce Doak of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, and fabricated at that institute.

The quest for atomic perfection in semiconductor devices

A research team, including scientists from MAX IV have reported in Nature Communications that the quest for atomic perfection in semiconductor devices was based on an oversimplified model.

Semiconductors are the fundamental building blocks of all modern electronics. Improvements to these materials could affect everything from the clock on our microwave to supercomputers used to crunch big data. The search to make them better involves looking at atomic level changes in semiconductor materials in order to understand how they could be improved, and even made perfect.

The problem with semiconductors and the way they are manufactured is that they need to be processed with metal contacts and thin insulating layers, and the interface between the semiconductor and these contacts contains a lot of defects which hamper device performance. If scientists can find a way to reduce the defects or eliminate them completely, then semiconductors could conceivably become faster and smaller. The problem is, these defects occur on the atomic scale and are very difficult to measure.

Scientists working at Max Lab, the predecessor to the newly built MAX IV, together with physicists from Lund University used the SPECIES beamline to investigate a common semiconductor synthesis method. Hafnium dioxide was deposited on the surface of indium arsenide and monitored using ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (APXPS). The scientists were able to monitor the very first atomic layer that was deposited, and monitor the chemical reactions that were occurring as the process was underway.

>Read more on the MAX IV Laboratory website

Video presentation of thesis at NanoMAX

In April 2018, Karolis Parfeniukas (image) defended the first thesis to be fully completed at one of the new MAXIV beamlines called NanoMAX Here’s an interview with Karolis about this project making zone plates to improve focusing of the X-ray beam. Thesis from KTH university, Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. PLease watch here the presentation of his research at MAX IV Laboratory:

>Read more here about MAX IV Laboratory

Unravelling the great vision of flies

Fruit flies have a much better vision than what was previously believed in the scientific community.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield (UK), the University of Oulu (Finland), Max IV (Sweden) and University of Szeged (Hungary) are on ID16B trying to find out what happens in the photoreceptors in these insects’ eyes.

“It had always been claimed that fly’s eyesight was very basic, but I couldn’t believe that after so many centuries of evolution this was still the case”, explains Mikko Juusola, head of the Centre for Cognition in Small Brains at Sheffield University. So he started studying vision in fruit flies a decade ago and last year himself and his team debunked previous hypothesis: they proved that insects have a much better vision and can see in far greater detail than previously thought.

Insects’ compound eyes typically consist of thousands of tiny lens-capped ‘eye-units’, which together should capture a low-resolution pixelated image of the surrounding world. In contrast, the human eye has a single large lens, and the retinal photoreceptor array underneath it is densely-packed, which allows the eye to capture high-resolution images. This is why it was believed that insects did not have a good eyesight. Until Juusola came in the picture.

>Read more on the European Synchrotron website

Image: Marko Huttula (University of Oulu, Finland), Jussi-Petteri Suuronen (ESRF) and Mikko Juusola (University of Sheffield, UK) on ESRF’s ID16B beamline. Credit: ©ESRF/C.Argoud

Marianne Liebi winner of Swedish L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science 2018

L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Prize is awarded in Sweden for the third time. The purpose of the prize is to pay attention to and reward young women who have shown great potential in science, while offering positive female role-models. Researchers Marianne Liebi, Chalmers, and Ruth Pöttgen, Lund University, get L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Award, supported by Sweden’s young academy 2018.

Marianne Liebi gets the award “for the constructive use of advanced imaging methods for biomaterials with the aim of understanding the connection between molecular and mechanical properties”. Marianne Liebi uses powerful X-ray technology to study how, for example, the smallest building blocks, collagen fibrils, the bone tissue, look and are organised. The goal is to develop a mimicking, biomimetic material, where nature’s own design principles are imitated and applied to develop artificial bone and cartilage.
“It’s important to show that in research, it does not matter where you come from or who you are – what matters is passion and dedication. At best, this kind of award will not be needed in the future, it would be aimed at all young researchers. It would not matter who you were, says Marianne Liebi.

>Read more on the MAXIV Laboratory website

Photo: Researchers Ruth Pöttgen (left), Lund University, and Marianne Liebi (right), Chalmers, get L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Award 2018, supported by Young Academy Sweden.
Credit: Emma Burendahl

FemtoMAX – an X-ray beamline for structural dynamics at a short-pulse facility

The FemtoMAX beamline facilitates studies of the structural dynamics of materials. Such studies are of fundamental importance for key scientific problems related to programming materials using light, enabling new storage media and new manufacturing techniques, obtaining sustainable energy by mimicking photosynthesis, and gleaning insights into chemical and biological functional dynamics. The FemtoMAX beamline utilizes the MAX IV linear accelerator as an electron source. The photon bursts have a pulse length of 100 fs, which is on the timescale of molecular vibrations, and have wavelengths matching interatomic distances (Å). The uniqueness of the beamline has called for special beamline components. This paper presents the beamline design including ultrasensitive X-ray beam-position monitors based on thin Ce:YAG screens, efficient harmonic separators and novel timing tools.

>Read more on the MAXIV Laboratory website

Image: Jörgen Larsson (right) and Christian Disch (left) looking at the first results from the Time-over-threshhold photon-counting detector, an important tool for background free measurements of SAXS and WAXS experiments with samples dissolved in liquids.

MicroMAX, a new beamline for life science

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has generously decided to fund the construction and operation of a new beamline at the MAX IV Laboratory called MicroMAX with 255 million DKK.

MicroMAX has been proposed by the Swedish and Danish research community and will depend on close collaboration with user groups in developing the methods that will be used at MicroMAX. The group of Professor Richard Neutze at the University of Gothenburg has pioneered the research in this area.

– Looking back, I note that in November 2006 MicroMAX was priority #2 in the Swedish Research Council evaluation of the proposal to construct MAX IV Laboratory, says Richard Neutze. Now we have a construction and build-up of the beamline also stretching more than a decade. For the MAX IV project as a whole this is a hugely important decision, to get this level of support from a Danish Foundation. I believe that MicroMAX will be one of the major flagship projects for MAX IV Laboratory. Now we just have to build it, operate it and do some great science…. the fun bit!

>Read more on the MAX IV website

 

MAX-IV at Big Science Business Forum 2018

Join MAX IV at Europe’s new one-stop-shop on the Big Science market

More than 650 delegates from 25 countries, representing more than 250 businesses and organisations from the international Big Science landscape, have already registered for Big Science Business Forum 2018 (BSBF2018). As a selected Affiliated Big Science organisation, MAX IV will be present at BSBF2018, giving a talk on our future procurement plans. With less than two months to go, interested is encouraged to sign up for BSBF2018 now.

Read more on the MAX-IV website

Finnish universities expanding their cooperation with MAX IV

The longstanding collaboration, dating back more than 20 years, of Finnish universities and users to MAX IV laboratory has taken a new phase. Through an agreement signed in the very last days of November, a Finnish university consortium – FIMAX – will expand and deepen this collaboration.

rofessor Marko Huttula from Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit at the University of Oulu acts as a coordinator of the Finnish participation.

Huttula made his first experiment in MAX-lab on 1998 during the birth of Finnish-Swedish I411 beamline, and now he sees a lot of benefits with the new agreement.

– The engaged long-term relationship between Finland and Sweden in MAX IV synchrotron radiation facility will boost the knowledge of the availability of the possibilities offered for the research. I do believe increasing interests will arise from the traditionally technical fields of R&D as well as from bio and medical research. The need on understanding the structure and functions of materials and processes on the finest detail will definitely make the synchrotron radiation more and more attracting.

Read more on the MAX-IV website

Image: The Finnish cooperation with MAX IV brings new potential users to the synchrotron. Here a photo from the visit in December by Genome of Steel from Oulu University. In the picture, from left to right: Rainer Pärna, beamline manager FinEstBeAMS, Samuli Urpelainen, beamline manager SPECIES, Timo Fabritius, Prof. Process Metallurgy Unit, Head of Unit, Christoph Quitmann, Director MAX IV Laboratory, Mahesh Somani, Adj Prof. Physical Metallurgy Group, Marko Huttula, Prof. Nano and Molecular systems Research Unit, Head of Unit, Antti Kivimäki, beamline scientist FinEstBeAMS, Wei Cao, Adj.Prof. Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit, Jukka Kömi, Prof. Materials and Production Engineering Unit, Head of Unit, Ville-Valtteri Visuri, PhD student Process Metallurgy.