Research at LAS concentrates on the characterisation of thin films, interfaces and nanostructures using X-ray scattering techniques. Such materials play an important role in modern technology: layers of only a few nanometers thickness form the basis of state-of-the-art high-density integrated chip fabrication, while thin films of materials such as the carbides or nitrides, with thicknesses of only several 10s of nanometers, provide corrosion and temperature resistance for mechanical structures such as aircraft turbine blades. The design of novel materials or the improvement of the performance of existing materials relies heavily on an understanding of the relationship between their structural properties and their function.
X-rays generated by synchrotron light sources possess unique qualities such as energy tuneability and high brilliance which makes such sources ideal for the investigation of such interfaces and thin-film materials. At LAS we employ the following experimental synchrotron methods for the characterisation of these materials:
- High-resolution X-ray diffraction (HRXRD)
- X-ray Reflection (XRR)
- Grazing-incidence small-angle scattering (GISAXS)
- Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GID)
- Reciprocal Space Mapping