X-Ray Optics

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What we do at X-Ray Optics



Welcome to X-Ray Optics and Synchrotron Science, Atomic & Condensed Matter Science

X-ray Optics Lab

X-ray optics is concerned with the interaction of photons with matter. Most applications at the new Australian Synchrotron are based on X-ray optics and make use of X-ray science. High energy (X-ray) photons probe the dominant atomic structure and atomic and condensed matter science. For molecules, clusters, nanomaterials and organometallic systems of interest to biomedical investigations, these photons probe the structure and dynamics of complex systems including their wavefunctions, bonding and quantum mechanics. VUV photons and gamma-rays are also subjects of investigation.

Our group has made breakthroughs in single crystal dynamical diffraction (non-ideally imperfect and curved crystal), powder diffraction and powder standards, bonding and lattice spacing, new detector technology and standard detector characterisation and optimisation, and especially X-ray Absorption Fine Structure and our novel experimental X-ray Extended Range Technique (XERT) and Hybrid technique. We have also made progress in coherence theory, synchrotron diagnostics and beam-line development, and other areas. These developments relate to research covering some 90% of current synchrotron activity.

Recently, we have developed the new field of the experimental characterisation of nanoroughness, a technique relevant to micro- and nano-circuitry both in process and quality control, and in diagnosis. Equally, our experimental and theoretical determination of electron inelastic scattering amplitudes in condensed matter systems has yielded surprises; and the new techniques are being strongly investigated by current students. Additionally, the nascent development by our group of error propagation and the determination of significance in absorption and fluorescence XAFS is a highlight, and the development of new theory for characteristic profiles of transition metals will lead on to strong sequels.

The group under Chris Chantler has made developments in atomic theory, condensed matter theory and diffraction theory. Some of these are found in Physics Review Letters and Physics Letters, together with major tabulations.

Quantum Electrodynamics is one of the two best-tested theories in physics and science, at the heart of physics and applications including quantum chemistry. Yet certain problems in its formulation lead people like Roger Penrose to conclude that there are fundamental flaws in the theory which may be revealed by an appropriate experiment. The type of experiment pursued by our group may reveal such an inadequacy, by being more sensitive to important terms and interactions than other available tests. QED is the primary explanation of the interaction of light and charge, and is fundamental to much of the physics and applications which we assume and rely on in the world today.

X-ray optics and atomic and condensed matter science are highly accessible to simultaneous theoretical and experimental investigations. Masters and honours-level projects can be predominantly theoretical or experimental, without losing sight of the direct link to the other. Doctorates link those threads together into a coherent whole.

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