The Versatile Soft X-ray (VERSOX) beamline B07 will serve a diverse user community interested in studies of heterogeneous catalysts, pharmaceuticals and biomaterials under realistic conditions, environmental and space science studies of liquids and ices, heritage conservation, and studies of novel electronic and photonic materials. VERSOX users will share an interest in the chemical nature and composition of the near-surface regions of their samples, which can be characterised using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy techniques (NEXAFS/XANES) in the photon energy range 50 to 3000 eV.
Dr Pilar Ferrer Escorihuela, B07's Senior Support Scientist.
In its final stage, VERSOX will consist of two operationally independent beamline branches. The first branch offers the capability of performing experiments under near-ambient pressures (up to circa 100 mbar). This will enable characterising the surface composition of heterogeneous catalysts under working conditions (as opposed to conventional ex situ characterisation), and biological and pharmaceutical samples under equilibrium water-vapour conditions. Direct spectroscopy of liquid will offer insight into the atmospheric chemistry of aerosols and chemical processes in solutions. This branch is currently in the final stage of construction and now accepting user applications.
The second branch is currently in its design stage. It will be equipped with an endstation with moderate vacuum restrictions to samples, which will be optimised for high throughput and automatic screening of samples. This will facilitate the characterisation of samples related to heritage conservation, geological specimens, or polymeric electronic materials, which are often incompatible with ultra-high vacuum requirements due to outgassing.
This endstation will attract users from beyond the synchrotron community by offering capabilities similar to advanced lab-XPS systems. Users will be able to maximise the excitation cross section of photoelectrons by tuning the photon energy, and perform X-ray absorption experiments to provide additional complementary information. This branch will also accommodate user-built endstations for more unconventional experiments with soft X-rays and the development of novel detection techniques.
"In contrast to other soft X-ray beamlines at Diamond, VERSOX is devoted to experiments that require non-standard sample environments and detection techniques not usually found or indeed possible at many 3rd generation synchrotron sources."
Professor Georg Held, B07’s Principal Beamline Scientist.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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