We talk a lot about light at MAX IV and we are very proud of the quality and brightness of the X-rays coming from our accelerator every day.
However, the light on its own is not enough.
Scientists coming to use MAX IV have lots different requirements when it comes to how their precious samples must be treated. Either their samples are very delicate and sensitive to their environment, or they want to subject their samples to extreme conditions to see how they will react.
As well as having the brightest synchrotron light, MAX IV also aims to make sure that the experimental stations are fully equipped to give the scientific community cutting-edge instruments to make their scientific dreams into a reality.
Oscar Tjernberg from The Royal Institute of Technology recently visited the Bloch beamline with his group, to take the newly commissioned endstation for a spin. They were interested in analysing some samples that they had characterised before and subjecting them to pressure while performing ARPES measurements. Their idea was that by squeezing their sample, they would break the cubic symmetry which should give their materials new and interesting properties. Normally this is difficult to do because the instruments you use to squeeze samples are very small and will only affect a small portion of the material. The set up at the Bloch endstation, allows Tjernberg and his group to apply pressure to more of the material which will make it easier to detect.
This is also in part due to the small spot size of the X-ray beam which is an order of magnitude smaller than it would have been at MAX lab, meaning that the research team can investigate smaller samples and open up a lot of new possibilities. This is because when performing ARPES, the surfaces have to be flat. Previously, a large spot size might have encompassed small flat regions as well as surrounding bumpy regions which would have made measurements impossible. A small spot allows the scientist to focus very precisely on the flat region and ignore any bumps.
Bloch has more features that Tjernberg and his team are eager to use. The helium cooled manipulators at Bloch which we wrote about recently allow samples to be cooled to 10 Kelvin which is useful for studies of materials that will be used in superconductors. The energy range of Bloch is also very useful for the group and Oscar Tjernberg himself had a hand in deciding it. The beauty of Bloch being on the 1.5 GeV ring is that users can take measurements at very low energies which overlap with the energies they are accustomed to in their home labs. This makes combining experiments done in Stockholm at KTH and in Lund at MAX IV much easier and more productive.