Manufacturing Bits: Sept. 29

Exploring chemical reactions using EUV; science gateways.


Exploring chemical reactions using EUV
The University of Tokyo has established a facility to study fast chemical reactions using a coherent extreme ultraviolet light source.

The new coherent extreme ultraviolet (XUV) source facility enables researchers to explore time-dependent phenomena, such as ultrafast chemical reactions of biological or physical samples.

Located in an underground facility at the University of Tokyo, the lab includes a system. The system includes a vacuum container, which houses a 100-meter-long ring or resonator. The system also includes a high-power laser.

At two locations are pockets of rare gases. When the laser is fired, the gases alter characteristics of the passing laser. That results in two separate beams of XUV and soft X-rays.

In operation, the beams hit a sample. Light reflected off the samples is then read by high-speed image sensors, which in turn provides information about the samples.

“Facilities to produce coherent XUV and soft X-rays are huge machines based on particle accelerators — like smaller versions of the Large Hadron Collider in Europe,” said Katsumi Midorikawa, a professor from the University of Tokyo’s Institute for Photon Science and Technology and RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics. “Given the rarity of these facilities and the expense of running experiments there, it presents a barrier to many who might wish to use them. This is what prompted myself and colleagues at UTokyo and RIKEN to create a new kind of facility that we hope will be far more accessible for a greater number of researchers to use.

“What is really novel about our approach is that the XUV and soft X-ray pulses are extremely short but occur at very high frequencies, in the region of megahertz, or millions of cycles per second,” said Midorikawa. “For perspective, established XUV facilities that use synchrotron radiation pulses also in the megahertz region have longer bursts which are less suitable for resolving dynamic phenomena. And those that use so-called X-ray-free electron laser sources have short pulses, but offer low frequencies of around 10 hertz to 100 hertz. So our facility offers the best of both worlds, with the added benefit of being only a fraction of the size and with far lower operating costs.”

Science gateways
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant to several universities to create a science gateway, a portal that enables researchers to study new and existing materials.

The NSF awarded a Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE) grant to the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California at San Diego, the University of Minnesota, Carnegie Mellon and Cornell University.

The goal is to create a so-called X-ray Imaging of Microstructures Gateway (XIMG). The science gateway will be an online resource that provides researchers everywhere with tools to examine high-energy X-ray data collected from beamlines at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) as well as other synchrotrons around the world.

CHESS is a high-intensity X-ray source, enabling users to conduct research in the areas of physics, chemistry, biology, and materials sciences.

The group will provide the tools to examine materials using the NSF-funded Expanse and Comet supercomputers at SDSC. This will allow researchers to analyze data that are currently difficult or impossible to access on-line.

“The XIMG will be the first of its kind for the materials science community where toolkits are available for visualization, modeling, and simulation at mesoscale and nanoscale levels,” said Mark Miller, a biologist at SDSC. “Providing public access to these resources will not only make it easier to use existing tools to analyze synchrotron data, it will also make it easier to develop and benchmark new tools, and distribute and test new tools within the community.”

“The NSF RAISE project will develop and deploy a general purpose ‘Science Gateway’ focusing on engineering alloys that will integrate multiscale X-ray scattering data at CHESS, with accelerated image processing and data reconstruction tools,” said Matt Miller, a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Associate Director of CHESS. “This will create a seamless connection to plasticity, fatigue and fracture models and codes for analysis and prediction associated with design.”

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