Home News From the foothills of the Pyrenees to the Alps – a CALIPSOplus staff exchange from ALBA to ESRF

From the foothills of the Pyrenees to the Alps – a CALIPSOplus staff exchange from ALBA to ESRF

18th December 2018


NCD-SWEET beamline (ALBA synchrotron light source, Spain) is devoted to Small and Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS & WAXS) experiments. After the NCD-SWEET major upgrade in 2017, the beamline capabilities enabled performing Grazing Incidence (GI) experiments, as demanded by the user community interested in investigating nanostructures at surfaces and interfaces. In fact, GISAXS technique was successfully implemented at the beamline, receiving the first official users on September 2018. However, the broad scientific community performing experiments at ALBA synchrotron required to perform GIWAXS experiments, a technique not implemented at NCD-SWEET.

Therefore, the main goal of the short stay is a transfer of knowledge concerning GIWAXS from BM26b (ESRF) to NCD-SWEET beamline (ALBA), motivated by the high expertise of the host beamline staff and their dedicated equipment. During the short stay, the guest, who is the person who lead the GISAXS implementation at NCD-SWEET beamline, will acquire knowledge on GIWAXS scientific and instrumentation requirements, user necessities and data analysis. At the end, this valuable technique will be implemented at NCD-SWEET beamline. Moreover, this stay is envisioned to start a close collaboration between DUBBLE and NCD-SWEET beamlines for scientific knowledge and instrumentation exchange as well as for research collaborations.

Activities… an overview

The main goal of the CALIPSOplus staff exchange was a transfer of knowledge on Grazing Incident Wide Angle X–ray Scattering (GIWAXS) from an experienced beamline staff (BM26b, ESRF) to the NCD-SWEET (ALBA) beamline scientist.

During the three weeks period of the staff exchange the host, beamline scientist at BM26b beamline, advised the guest, postdoctoral research associate at NCD-SWEET beamline, on the technical requirements to achieve an optimal x-ray beam (e.g. beam size, flux), instrumentation (e.g. electronics, detector specifications, accessible range, etc.) and sample environment (e.g. temperature, magnetic field) to perform competitive GIWAXS experiments, aiming to fulfill the necessities of the national and international researchers. Moreover, during the exchange period, experienced users attended their official beamtime at BM26b, which required a huge variety of setups and conditions, fact profited to learn the know-how from the beamline staff, the demands of the users when performing GIWAXS experiments and the scientific case which motivated the beamtime.

As result, on December 2018, the first official users at NCD-SWEET beamline profited of the recently implemented GIWAXS technique and the knowledge acquired by the beamline responsible during the visit at BM26b (ESRF).


Scientific cases

Magnet (4 T) installed at BM26b as sample environment to perform in situ experiments.

During the exchange period, several users requiring diverse setups and beamline configurations performed experiments at BM26b. Therefore, multiple experiments have been attended, having special interest those related with surface characterization (GISAXS and GIWAXS). Among them, two experiments have been selected to exemplify the interest of the user community:

In situ GIWAXS investigation of polymer thermal annealing: During this experiment, a variety of pure and doped polymers on a surface were investigated while the temperature was varied between -10 to 200 o Therefore, the structure, orientation, evolution and thermal stability of the thin polymeric layers was investigated

In situ GIWAXS observation of soft materials magnetic orientation: A magnet was installed at BM26b as sample environment (Fig. 1), enabling the possibility to heat and apply a magnetic field up to 4 Tesla to the sample during the experiment. As result, the molecular orientation dependency respect to the magnetic field and temperature was investigated.


Conclusions of CALIPSOplus staff exchange:

The staff-exchange team at the BM26b beamline (ESRF) during an in situ experiment requiring the installation of a specific sample

CALIPSOplus project has been demonstrated to be fundamental for trans-national cooperation between different light sources. The staff mobility exchange program has proved to play a pivotal role on the transfer of knowledge, since it resulted on a successful improvement of the NCD-SWEET staff knowledge and beamline capabilities. In this specific case, the first users profiting the implementation of GIWAXS technique finished the first official beamtime on December 2018. We consider that these kinds of programs should be extended to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and networking between the different members. However, we consider that the duration of the stay should be studied individually and, if well justified, extended in function of the envisioned exchange project and complexity.