ARCHIVED - X-ray Vision for Materials Science

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February 04, 2004— Ottawa, Ontario

In the classic use of a synchrotron it functions as a source of bright X-rays for looking inside materials at their internal structure. For example, in X-ray absorption spectroscopy, the sample under study is exposed to a monochromatic (single energy) beam of photons. At certain energies, absorption of photons causes excitation of core electrons into unoccupied states of the solid. Detection of the radiation emitted when this excited state decays produces the absorption data. Researchers can use the absorption pattern to determine the atomic bonding configurations of the sample.

X-ray absorption data for a gallium nitride layer, a key material for blue lasers. Theory is based on the crystal structure shown inset.
X-ray absorption data for a gallium nitride layer, a key material for blue lasers. Theory is based on the crystal structure shown inset.
Worldwide, more beam time on synchrotrons is devoted to materials research than anything else. The ultrabright X-rays have been used by industry to develop biodegradable plastics, deal with corrosion in cars, and to develop new injection-moulded materials for jogging shoes. Scientists at the NRC Institute for Microstructural Sciences (NRC-IMS) are planning to use both hard and soft X-rays to study novel compound semiconductor materials with applications ranging from medical imaging to telecommunications and defence.

Advanced Materials at NRC-IMS

Dr. James Gupta of the NRC Institute for Microstructural Sciences (NRC-IMS) is interested in using the CLS to get a better look at bandgap-engineered structures such as materials for advanced light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

He has obtained experimental absorption data for gallium nitride layers by travelling to synchrotrons in the U.S., but now he will be able to conduct his work here in Canada.

Gallium nitride is a key material for blue lasers in super-high density DVD systems and high-brightness LEDs. According to Dr. Gupta, "These LEDs are very energy efficient and will likely replace incandescent bulbs in the near future."


Follow the links below to learn more about NRC projects planned for the Canadian Light Source.


Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada
613-991-1431
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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