The Highlights in our selection this year are extremely diverse in their subject matter. This demonstrates the great versatility of the techniques used and the scientific interest in many fields of research. There are materials problems such as ferroelectrics (Laulhé et al.) and negative thermal expansion (Sanson et al.), catalysis (Newton et al.), geology (Muñoz et al.), studies at interfaces (Luches et al.), impurity problems (Sarigiannidou et al.) and dynamical studies (Goulon et al.), to name a few.

As in the past few years there are also many X-ray absorption studies which combine techniques, whether it be with diffraction (X-ray or neutron) or other spectroscopic methods. These combinations allow unique information to be obtained that would otherwise not be possible; see for example the catalysis study combining in situ time-resolved infrared and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (Newton et al.).

Studies with an emphasis on basic research also have a prominent place. For example, Kondo phenomena (Venturini et al.), spin states (Haverkort et al.), dynamics (Goulon et al.) and multipolar ordering (Mazzoli et al. and McEwen et al.). This is extremely important, showing the health of the entire scientific field where both basic and applied problems can be addressed and where the limits are only the imagination of the scientists.

Clearly, there are many other examples of outstanding research which could not be included for space reasons. There are contributions to our understanding of the physics of magnetism at interfaces (ferromagnetic/antiferromagnetic [1] and ferromagnetic/superconducting [2]), magnetic impurities [3] and magnetism in nanoparticles [4]. Important work on metal-insulator transitions [5] and undercooling phenomena in nanoparticles [6] has also been carried out. In addition, synchronised time-resolved UV-Vis/XAS studies of catalysts [7] has added to the suite of in situ studies in chemistry. Nevertheless, these studies only represent a small part of the important research work being under taken in this general research area. This large body of work gives us confidence in the scientific future for the research fields addressed by X-ray absorption and magnetic scattering.

With the strong growth of synchrotron research in Europe and around the World there will be many possibilities for making important gains in our scientific understanding and consequently, it is important to look beyond what we have today and will have tomorrow and look towards the scientific challenges of the future. This will give us the “Highlights” of the coming decades.

N. Brookes



[1] J. Camareo et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 232507 (2006).
[2] J. Chakhalian et al., Nature Physics 2, 244 (2006).
[3] K. W. Edmonds et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 117207 (2006).
[4] F. Luis et al., Europhys. Lett. 76, 142 (2006).
[5] T. C. Koethe et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 116402 (2006).
[6] G. B. Parravicini et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 033123 (2006).
[7] G. Guilera et al., Chem. Commun. 41, 4306 (2006).