Til bevillingsoversigt

The Best of Both Worlds – Combining the Strengths of Electrons and X-rays

Carlsbergfondets postdoc-stipendier i Danmark


In this project I will investigate the structure of several "crystallographically challenged" materials by combining the merits of X-ray diffraction with state-of-the-art transmission electron microscopy (TEM) methods and big data analysis. I aim at developing new characterisation approaches, which combine the best of these techniques to answer questions that each technique by itself is not able to. The materials investigated span a broad range of structural order and complexity, e.g. amorphous clusters, metallic glasses, beam sensitive porous structures and hierarchical hybrid materials. X-ray based methods will provide information about the average structure and composition while TEM will reveal critical insights into local symmetries and nano-scale structural and chemical heterogeneity.


Materials scientists are constantly tailoring novel materials to meet the increasing demands in society. Composite, meso-structured, and disordered materials with progressively complex and often hierarchical structures are being realised. These novel materials are the core of many modern technological solutions to the grand challenges society faces, e.g. sustainable energy production and storage, clean water supply and even certain healthcare products. In order to understand and optimise the performance of such materials it is important to be able to characterise and understand the structure-function relationship of these materials; a feat already achieved quite easily for most simple and fully crystalline materials, yet highly challenging in the case of disordered and hybrid materials.


I will rely on close collaboration with researchers from iNANO at Aarhus University (AU), Copenhagen University, Monash University (Melbourne) and RMIT (Melbourne) to obtain technologically relevant "crystallographically challenged materials". The majority of the actual characterisation will be conducted at iNANO (AU) using the available high level X-ray and electron microscopy facilities. Additional experiments calling for extremely specialised equipment will be conducted at various European synchrotron sources and at international electron microscopy facilities, i.e. SuperSTEM in Daresbury and the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy in Melbourne. I will make use of GPU computing and computing clusters (if access is granted) for the analysis of the large amounts of data collected.


Among the greatest challenges currently is the transition from a largely fossil fuel based society to a sustainable and renewable energy based society. Materials play an integral part in this transition. Better and cheaper: battery-, photovoltaic-, magnetic-, and catalytic-materials, need to be developed to further this transition. Complex porous and catalytically active hold the materials promise to provide cleaner water for millions of people. The potential of Amorphous and disordered materials has been largely overlooked in these contexts. The new characterisation approaches developed in this project will provide ways to understand the structure-function relationships of disordered and hybrid materials and thus allow scientists to realise the full potential of these materials.