Targeting weaknesses in quick clays with X-ray data

Recent landslides in Scandinavia linked to quick clays in the underlying soil have caused major damage to societal infrastructure and even loss of life. In urban areas in particular, quick clays can pose a significant hazard when disturbed. Research on the clay material structure holds promise to understand why quick clay soils can collapse without warning, and in connection, provide valuable insight for improved planning of buildings, roads, and bridges as well as public safety measures. New techniques for the study of quick clays include small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) available at MAX IV’s CoSAXS beamline, and full-field tomographic imaging and small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SWAXS) at ForMAX beamline.

Kilohertz serial crystallography to film nature’s choreography

A collaborative work between MAX IV and Paul Scherrer Institute researchers investigated a setup to conduct serial and time-resolved macromolecular crystallography at MAX IV. The experiment shows that the setup, based on JUNGFRAU detector and Jungfraujoch data-acquisition system, can provide a molecular moving picture of up to 500 microseconds in resolution of protein dynamics – providing ten times finer details than the previously available method. The setup is in the works to be made available at MicroMAX beamline.

A cloudy route for shipping in the Arctic

The melting of polar ice due to climate change will open global shipping routes through the Arctic in summer by mid-century, according to experts. More ships in the remote area means greater pollution impacts on the marine ecosystem. What will these impacts look like? In a first commissioning experiment at MAX IV’s SoftiMAX beamline, Swedish researchers analysed the cloud-forming abilities of particle exhaust from ships using low-sulphate fuels as well as high-sulphate fuels conditioned with wet scrubbers. Their findings indicate the fuel types produce different, but unintended effects on particle emissions and therefore, our atmosphere.

X-ray eyes on artifact from shipwreck Gribshunden

When history meets present-day science fascinating things reveal themselves. In such a case, a sample of chain mail from the 15th century Danish flagship, Gribshunden, was recently analysed at MAX IV’s NanoMAX beamline. Researchers from Lund University want to know more about the structural and chemical makeup of the metal to give us a window into Sweden’s past.

Bacterial biomass conversion for renewable fuels

Imagine this future. Vehicles and machinery primarily powered by renewable organic matter, a resource far better for the planet’s health than today’s predominate fossil fuels. What factors stand in the way for a global power transition to competitive, industrial-scale biomass conversion? A study in Nature Communications reveals one key piece of the puzzle using bacterial enzymes. At MAX IV’s BioMAX beamline, an international team of scientists has determined important rate-limiting steps of lignocellulose breakdown, a major hurdle in efficient biomass processing. The discovery holds promise for a significant reduction in manufacturing costs and faster adoption of new biomass-derived fuels to market.

Reaction undercover: boosting the potency of catalysts

To sever society’s tether from fossil fuels, the development of more efficient catalysts for renewable energy production is a recognized, key step. On surfaces covered by 2D materials, a more detailed picture of the reaction process will greatly enhance our understanding, according to a recent study in ACS Catalysis. Researchers in Sweden have observed the effects of hydrogen and other gas combinations on 2D material graphene during undercover reactions using ambient-pressure XPS at MAX IV’s HIPPIE beamline.

A toothy temporal map of Arctic climate change

In the vast, remoteness of the Arctic, few have the opportunity to gather data on the environmental conditions over time or decipher the long-term effects of climate change. What is required? A considerable period to observe, a nearly autonomous method or actor for collection, a robust character to withstand the harsh surroundings. Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark are tackling this issue through an interdisciplinary NordForsk project. At DanMAX beamline, the group will analyse a narwhal tusk to determine its chemical composition and biomineralization, both important potential markers of the changing environment.

Amorphous atomic structure of tungsten oxide detected at DanMAX

The relationship between atomic structure and size is crucial knowledge in the effort to improve nanomaterials properties. Amorphous atomic structure was revealed in research done at DanMAX beamline of otherwise crystalline tungsten oxide nanoparticles due to the change of the nanoparticles size. This understanding is crucial for developing materials for, among others, catalysis, batteries, solar cells, memory storage, medicine, etc.