Working with large-scale facilities and the smallest particles: Research with photons, neutrons and ions
How do you look into the innermost structures of matter? Answers to this are provided by synchrotron radiation, neutrons and ions. They serve, as it were, as the scientists' eyes when examining the structural make-up of matter. Large-scale facilities are needed to produce these kinds of radiation, such as electron ring accelerators. The Helmholtz programme "Research with Photons, Neutrons and Ions" concentrates on advancing the development of these massive scientific instruments and on using them for research.
Synchrotron radiation, neutrons and ions are complementary probes for the study of strcutural and dynamic properties of matter and materials. This is why large-scale facilities which make such research work possible are of paramount importance to the sciences. For example, they serve fields such as
- atomic and molecular physics,
- plasma physics and the physics of condensed matter,
- structural molecular biology,
- chemistry and materials science,
- geosciences and environmental research, as well as
- engineering and other fields of application.
Helmholtz scientists develop and operate instruments which are used by national and international users working in research and industry from all of these disciplines. Completely new types of experiments will be possible at the new facilities FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research), the Free-Electron-Laser European XFEL and the through the participation in the megawatt Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), USA and at the planned European spallation source ESS.