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Welcome to the X-Ray Microdiffraction facility at the Advanced Light Source!

BL 12.3.2. is a superconducting magnet X-ray microdiffraction (or micro X-ray diffraction) beamline facility at the Advanced Light Source of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).



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Beamline News:

January 22, 2014: Beamline highlight on Phys.org: mapping strain and crack propagation in metal tubing. Read the story here.

October 17, 2013: Beamline highlight: Concrete Industry benefits from Ancient Romans. Read the story here.

July 25, 2013: Beamline highlight: ALS Gives Chevron Scientists New Insights into Corrosion Resistance. Read the story here.

July 24, 2013: The new phase mapping capability has now been implemented in XMAS... Test case on a three phases sample. Top left: resulting phase distribution map (red: quartz, green: pyrite, blue:chalcopyrite), top right: orientation map. Bottom: fluorescence maps of iron and copper for sanity check... (courtesy: Andrea Gerson)


June 21, 2013: Beamline highlight: Enabling Thin Silicon Solar Cell Technology. Read the story here.

November 28, 2012: CISCO Systems uses BL 12.3.2 for their research on tin whiskers, read the story here.



Beamline 12.3.2 overview

X-ray diffraction is a powerful experimental technique that is routinely used to investigate the structural properties of materials.  We use x-rays focused to a spot size of one micron or less to perform x-ray diffraction experiments with very high spatial resolution. X-ray microdiffraction is providing new insights in the fields of material, energy and environmental sciences. The ALS X-ray microdiffraction facility has undergone a major upgrade in 2007 with its move from the bending magnet end-station 7.3.3. to the superbend beamline 12.3.2. The move was made possible through a NSF grant headed by the Iowa State University. The new end-station with its enhanced capabilities including brighter beam, smaller spot size, better strain sensitivity and broader energy range is now operational.


Why use synchrotron x-ray microdiffraction?

- Materials properties such as strength and fatigue resistance are highly dependent on microstructure.  X-ray microdiffraction can measure local variations in stress, orientation, and plastic deformation between grains and within individual grains, helping us understand mechanical properties at this critical length scale.

- In microelectronics and related industries, the dimensions of the constitutive devices range from a few microns to submicron.  Confinement and interfaces make thin film mechanical properties drastically different than bulk materials.  With x-ray microdiffraction, we can measure local characteristics such as texture and stress within individual devices, offering an experimental counterpart to computer simulations.

- Samples such as soils are highly complex and are a challenge for spatially resolved characterization.  X-ray microdiffraction allows for structural identification of small amounts of phases embedded in a heterogeneous matrix.


For questions and comments about this site, contact Nobumichi Tamura




Quartz in San Andreas fault



Acid Mine drainage



Barium titanite