Without clever high-tech materials nothing works in modern industrial civilisations nowadays.
Tailored material systems are the basic elements for all modern technology, including
information and communication, medicine and health care, energy and environment, mobility and transport.
In every day life we use products designed by solid state physicists and materials scientists. The
pool of ideas for the future is promising, it reaches from single electrone transistors, organic
lasers, quantum and light computers, magnetic electronics working with the electron spin, data
storage media at the size of a pinhead, smart dust (tiny chips) to new extremely hard materials,
which let steel look soft as butter.
These visions for the future can only be turned into reality if we make the analytical technologies
available, that are needed to sense new structures, phenomena and functions in the nanocosmos
with high precision. Synchrotron radiation sources take on a key role in this context, since
they allow a destruction-free three-dimensional analysis of nanostructures at realistic environemental
and technological conditions and highly precise nanostructuring.
In the focus are interactions between the structure of materials and their properties.
This basic knowledge allows appointing defined material states and keeping them even under
extreme environmental conditions. Synchrotron radiation is used to study microstructures in
materials, from their formation to their destrcution by heat or mechanical wear. A wealth
of methods is at disposition, for example residual stress analysis.
The high brilliance of modern synchrotron radiation sources allows to follow very local and time-dependent
phenomena in situ, as for example the growth of single crystalitts in a polycrystallinic material
or the fromation of cavities in materials that are exprosed to high pressure and temperature. Revolutionary
new insights into the nanocosm are expected from new X-ray sources, which are fed by linear accellerators.
With the European X-ray laser X-FEL for example, for the first time it will be possible to observe the
formation and breakup of chemical bondings, to see how drugs work and how nanomachines function.
Sources: SNI2006, Helmut Dosch und Anke Pyzalla /
MPI für Metallforschung