The selected articles for the 2011 edition of the Highlights provide a representative slice of the research performed on the Dynamics and Extreme Conditions Group’s beamlines, but can only give a flavour of the many excellent results obtained in the course of the year. The Highlights include the comparative study of the vibrational properties of a glass and its crystalline counterpart, which marks the end point of a decade-long search for the nature of the so-called boson peak. Elemental solids ranging from free-electron-like alkali metals to correlated solids such as cerium and uranium still provide fertile ground for investigations and remarkable new findings are unearthed when pressure is applied, and temperature is exploited as additional variable. Examples demonstrating the importance of an advanced and versatile sample environment are the characterisation of novel compounds synthesised under extreme conditions and an innovative sample design to study the chemical state and function of Pt-dopants in gas sensors. The development of new techniques and advances in theory are key to the creation of new opportunities and for a deeper understanding. This is illustrated by a new tomographic technique, sapphire crystals for monochromatising high-energy X-rays to sub-meV energy resolution, and the development of a simplified formalism for resonant inelastic X-ray scattering.

As in previous years, besides supporting a cutting edge scientific programme, substantial efforts went into new developments. Funds by the German ministry (BMBF, Verbundforschung) allowed a group from the Universität Bayreuth to develop a new double-sided laser heating system for nuclear resonance experiments. The first high-pressure high-temperature nuclear inelastic and nuclear forward scattering data were recorded at ID18 and, with the same system, the first laser-heated single crystal studies were performed at ID09A. A new two-dimensional fast detector (timepix) was commissioned on ID16. The first ultra-fast XAS-XES pump and probe experiments using a MHz laser were conducted on ID26, in collaboration with scientists from the European XFEL. ID27 successfully developed an in situ X-ray micro-fluorescence setup interfaced to the double-sided laser heating system, and commissioned a rotating large volume press system (ROTOPEC project) for in situ X-ray diffraction tomography at high pressure and high temperature in collaboration with a team from the University of Paris. ID28 upgraded its focusing optics and achieved a spot size of 14 x 7 µm2 (horizontal x vertical, FWHM).

Following the arrival and installation of the new tooling for the large volume press in February 2011, commissioning of the press was started. Several key features and techniques have been successfully tested, and it is hoped that the large volume press can be opened for user operation in the second half of 2012, provided that the required funds can be mobilised.

ID16 closed its doors after sixteen years of very successful operation. The programme on the high-frequency dynamics of liquids and glasses will continue on ID28, while the study of electronic and magnetic structure and dynamics will be at the focus of UPBL6 – Inelastic X-ray Scattering - located on ID20. Hutch construction has been completed, and following radiation tests and commissioning in 2012, UPBL6 will start user operation in March 2013.

ID22N, operational since 1998, and offering the user community - besides ID18 - a second station to conduct a wide range of nuclear resonance studies, was closed in March 2011. Efforts are currently focusing to investigate a possible exploitation of the 7/8 filling mode of the storage ring for nuclear resonance applications.

Finally, the high pressure beamlines ID09A and ID27 were reviewed in Spring 2011 and received very positive feedback. Both beamlines are considered world leading in their field. The panel further appreciated the increasing interest in the field of solid state chemistry and the synthesis of new materials.


M. Krisch