Workshop Scope

Functional materials exhibit spontaneous ordering phenomena such as magnetism and ferroelectricity as well as characteristics such as conduction and optical effects (Kerr, Faraday) that can be controlled by applying external fields (electric, magnetic, strain) or other excitations (light, heat). Designing functional materials and engineered nanostructures with specific thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties drives research that is critical for a wide range of applications, including low-power/high-speed information processing, communications, high-density information storage, and energy harvesting. Thin films, superlattices and laterally confined nano/microstructures are especially promising functional systems which exhibit properties not found in the bulk, such as coupling of order parameters across interfaces, new electronic and magnetic phases localized only at interfaces or new characteristics induced by strain.

Soft x-ray spectroscopy and microscopy techniques are powerful tools for probing functional properties. They reveal detailed magnetic and electronic information with element-specificity and sensitivity to the symmetry of the absorber site with nanometer-scale spatial resolution and access to fundamental time scales. Soft x-ray scattering approaches can selectively probe phases localized near interfaces or at domain walls and can even isolate characteristics and functionality associated with grains of one specific size within a wide size distribution.

In this workshop, current opportunities and future directions for characterizing ordered and functional materials with soft x rays using spectroscopy, microscopy and scattering will be featured and discussed. Special emphasis will be placed on identifying beamline and endstation characteristics and developments needed to allow ALS and ALS-U to lead this field in the future.

Target audience: Researchers with any level of experience (student, postdoc, PI) interested in the electronic, orbital, and magnetic characteristics of novel materials. The organizing team will encourage the participation of students and postdoctoral scholar as presenters and in discussions.

Duration of the workshop: 1-1/2 days