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X - R A Y N A N O P R O B E
After a year of severe pandemic restrictions and operation without user travel, 2021 marked the gradual return of user groups to the X-ray Nanoprobe (XNP) group s beamlines. Given the complexity of these versatile instruments, this turned out to be highly beneficial for the efficient exploitation of the beamlines supplied with the prime qualities of the Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS). While the outcome of these very dynamic last 12 months is certainly still to be published, this year's selection of highlights represents the broad range of science covered, with samples from batteries and energy materials, palaeontology, cultural heritage, biology and biomedicine, environmental science, catalysis and functional nanomaterials. While the availability of sample environments has increased, the operando capacities of all beamlines also depend on improved and accelerated detection and data pipelines to fully exploit the new potential offered by the EBS source.
With the main focus being on nanobeam experiments, either through Bragg Coherent Diffraction Imaging (BCDI) or by scanning diffraction experiments, the ID01 beamline is applying techniques that have so far seen their limits in the available brilliance on the source side. The increase in available flux for these techniques has pushed the limits in BCDI down to smaller crystals, with diffraction from sub- 20-nm objects observed. Alternatively, the flux gain can be translated into much better time resolution, pushing operando experiments into relevant time scales for catalytic processes or electrochemical reactions in batteries. The energy range accessible for these experiments is also naturally expanding with the gains of the new source. This will be one of the main drivers of development on the beamline in 2022 and concerns the extension of the detector portfolio (Si and GaAs pixel detectors) and the development of a beamline-specific KB system.
In addition to a series of mail-in experiments, the microfocus beamline, ID13, has resumed operating with onsite users hosting experiments with complex sample environments, in part in in-vivo / operando mode. In spring 2021, the existing Si111 channel-cut crystal was replaced with an optimally polished version from the collaboration of the ESRF optics group and the University of Osaka. This monochromator upgrade, together with EBS gains, led to a considerable gain in coherence and increase in nanobeam flux density. With the substantial increase in scanning speed due to the continuous scanning capability implemented with the BLISS instrument-control software, typical data-acquisition times have been reduced by up to two orders of magnitude when compared to pre-EBS performance. Upgrading to the graphical user interface Daiquiri (developed by BCU at ID21 in 2020) for convenient alignment and automatic data acquisition on multi-sample mounts enabled the beamline to work in high-throughput mode, measuring hundreds of samples per beam time despite individual and interactive selections of regions of interest. The advantages of