Public Release: 

Atomic Movies Play At Argonne

DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

Making atomic movies at world's most brilliant X-ray source

A collaborative research team has taken its first x-ray "movies" at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source (APS), a huge doughnut-shaped synchrotron radiation machine the size of a baseball stadium.

The work involves studying novel materials under real, dynamic conditions. The team demonstrated a new ability to produce movies of structural changes taking place at the atomic scale. Scientists were able to record a series of x-ray diffraction exposures at 30 frames per second. In addition to materials research, the technique has applications in medical and biological research.

Images were collected on a detector known as a charged coupled device, using an ultra-thin film on boron nitride on silicon. "We take advantage of the extremely high brightness, collimation and stability of the beam for new kinds of coherent spectroscopic measurements," said Howard University professor Walter P. Lowe. "The type of work we do here benefits from the interaction of a broad spectrum of researchers. Physicists, chemists, materials scientists and engineers all have a different perspective on the dynamics of materials."

The team, one of 14 presently using the APS, is a collaboration of Howard University, the University of Michigan and Lucent Technologies/Bell Laboratories. It was formed 5 years ago and funded by DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences to construct beam lines to use the powerful x-rays from the APS. The engineering, design and construction of the beam lines was carried out at Howard's Beltsville, Maryland campus. The beam lines were then installed at the APS.

More information on the APS and its research teams is available on the Internet at:


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