International Scientific and Education UniFEL Center for Advanced Methods of Materials Research was established at ITMO University in 2015. The primary purposes of the UniFEL Center are preparation for the experiments at X-ray free electron lasers, mainly at the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL.EU) Facility, Hamburg, Germany, and development of new research methods with high spatial, energy and time resolution for obtaining information about the structure and functional properties of nano-objects.
Activities of Russian scientists at XFEL.EU Facility are steered within the framework of the National Research and Education Association “Large scale research facilities”, coordinated by the National Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute”, Moscow, Russia.
The cooperation agreement between ITMO University and Technical University Freiberg (TU Bergakademie Freiberg) was signed to implement the project with the purpose to conduct collaborative research including preparation of materials for further experiments at XFELs and development of bilateral educational programs. Heads of the UniFEL Center are Professor Alexey Romanov (ITMO University) and Professor Serguei Molodtsov (ТU Bergakademie Freiberg), who is also the Scientific Director of the XFEL.EU. Studies of structural properties of nano-objects are carried out in close cooperation with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) «Materials Science and Diagnostics in Advanced Technologies" (Ioffe Institute, St. Petersburg).
In its activities UniFEL has the following objectives:
· Obtaining the most complete and quantitatively accurate information on basic physical and physical-chemical parameters and characteristics on all stages of the technological process of producing nanostructures (elemental, phase and chemical composition, parameters of the real crystal and electronic structure, the geometric parameters, defects);
· Obtaining data on the atomic structure, geometric shape and size, elemental and phase composition and defects of the electronic structure of materials based on the detection and analysis of signals arising from the interaction of electrons and X-ray beams with nanosystems.
· Studying dynamic processes in the bulk and on the surface of the nanoparticles with high temporal resolution, depending on the energy of the X-ray quantum.
· Organization of international educational programs on methods for materials research.