X-ray instrument boosts materials research

Photo: Astrid Johansen

In a basement at Roskilde University, researchers and technicians are currently busy installing an 8-metre long X-ray machine, which will help to give material research at the university a proper boost. It is the physicist Dorthe Posselt from the subject group for physics and mathematics (IMFUFA) at Roskilde University, who has been the driving force in acquiring the device – an acquisition that has become possible due to a grant of 11 million kroner from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. More specifically, it is an instrument for so-called X-ray small-angle scattering, where materials are examined by measuring how X-rays are scattered when they are sent through a sample, whereby detailed information can be obtained about the nanoscale structure of the material in the sample.


Until now, Dorthe Posselt and colleagues have had to travel abroad with samples and equipment to gain access to similar facilities, and it is typically only possible to get 4-5 days of measurement time at a time. Therefore, the new facility at RUC – called RUCSAXS (which stands for Roskilde University Small-Angle X-ray Scattering) opens up much more research on delicate samples and studies of processes that take place over a longer period of time.


It is not only physicists who will benefit from the device. Dorthe Posselt, who heads the interdisciplinary center FRUSTMI, thus expects that colleagues from other scientific disciplines such as chemistry, molecular biology and environmental biology will also benefit from RUCSAXS. She also expects that a lively and international environment will be built around the equipment, and that private companies will be able to use the instrument. The typical material that will be investigated with RUCSAXS are nanoparticles floating around in a liquid. These can be, for example, polymers, cell membranes, metal and plastic nanoparticles or clusters of protein molecules. RUCSAXS also offers, as something special, the opportunity to study nanostructured surfaces and ultrathin coatings with a tailored nanostructure.


CRK, Source: RUC

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