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SOLEIL - Saclay

par Joffrey - publié le , mis à jour le

SOLEIL is the French National Light Source, opened to the French, European and International scientific communities. A wide range of scientific fields can be studied at its 29 beamlines, which are supported by 5 technical laboratories. The beamlines use a highly brilliant source of photons, ranging from low IR (terahertz) to hard X-rays through UV, visible and soft X-rays. Each beamline is an independent instrument dedicated to a specific analysis technique, such as absorption, emission or photoelectron X-ray spectroscopies, grazing incidence, microfocused X-ray diffraction or diffusion and IR, UV-Vis or X-ray imaging. These techniques can be used to study fundamental as well as applied scientific questions that pertain to many fields of research, from biomedical to material science, through catalysis, energy and environmental sciences. Applications are virtually unlimited and no matter what your research topic is, there is a technique at SOLEIL that can help you solve your scientific problem. We also make an effort in studying samples under conditions as close as possible to those under which they are used (in operando). The support laboratories of SOLEIL (chemistry, biology, surface, high pressure and microfluidics) will help you design experiments to probe your samples under conditions as « real » as possible, whether they are under high pressure, physiological conditions or extreme temperatures.

In the context of solar-to-fuel research, SOLEIL proposes several techniques that can be used to answer questions that pertain to the conversion of light into chemical bonds. Crystallographic techniques can be used to determine the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme, a molecular catalyst or a light-absorbing semi-conductor, where samples can be studied as single crystals, powders or thin films. Structural information can also be obtained using techniques such as EXAFS, UV-Visible circular dichroism or small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering on non-ordered samples such as amorphous materials, polymers, nanoparticles or solubilized proteins. Information can also be gathered on the electronic structure of such samples : the position and gap between the valence and conduction bands of a semi-conducting material can be determined using photoelectron as well as X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopies. The oxidation and/or protonation state of a molecular or heterogeneous catalyst or an enzyme can also be determined using these techniques. All these forms of information are crucial to understand the behavior of these light-absorbing and catalytic systems and thus optimize their performances.
Finally, bi- and tridimensional imaging techniques can be used to assess the homogeneity of a sample under functioning conditions : X-ray micro-fluorescence (XRF) or scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) provide simultaneous, multi-elemental mapping at micrometric to nanometric resolutions, while tomography and ptychography provide 3D morphological information.
All the techniques mentioned above can be used to study very fundamental scientific questions, but also more applied systems under functioning conditions.

Andrea Zitolo (X-ray spectroscopy SAMBA beamline)
Frank Wien (Circular Dichroism, DISCO beamline)
Jean-Jacques Gallet (NAP-XPS, TEMPO beamline / U. Pierre &Marie Curie)
Benedikt Lassalle (X-ray spectroscopy, LUCIA beamline)
Stefan Stanescu (STXM, HERMES beamline)