At the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II, Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York), the X-ray Powder Diffraction (XPD) beamline serves a very broad and diverse user community ranging from physics, chemistry, and materials science to earth science, nuclear science and engineering science. XPD operates with photon beams whose energy is fully tunable between 40 keV and 70 keV, with a nominal beam size of 0.6 × 0.2 mm2. Hard X-rays provide the opportunity to probe high-Z or bulk samples, buried interfaces, and through sample cells and devices. The core mission of XPD is to observe materials under conditions that are far from equilibrium, as a function of a process parameter like T, P, reactive gases, or electric field.
XPD is configured for near-field (high Q coverage) and far-field (high peak separation) 2D diffraction using two large-area detectors. They can be quickly interchanged at any time in the course of a reaction or a process. This dual detector arrangement is ideal for total scattering measurements that provide both long-range and short-range atomic ordering information on any material.
Major focus themes of XPD are: 1) in situ synthesis (e.g., high temperature solid state growth, colloidal nanoparticles from solution, flash sintering of ceramics/oxide materials, nucleation & growth of MOFs, and microwave-assisted synthesis) and 2) in situ structure evolution (e.g., catalysis, oxidation reduction reactions using gases, hydrogenation reactions, gas adsorption and separation, and cycling of energy-storage devices).
In the first two years of operation of XPD, a lot of work has been dedicated to irradiated and radioactive materials for nuclear applications. My talk will review the opportunities that high-energy X-ray beamlines at the NSLS-II can offer for multi-length scale structural measurements and development of novel materials for nuclear science.