Mission and Task

The hard X-ray scattering beamline MPI is located at the Synchrotron KARA (Karlsruhe Accelerator Test Facility and Synchrotron Radiation Source) of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT). The beamline MPI is operated by the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in collaboration with the Institute for Beam Physics and Technology (IBPT) and the Institute for Photon Science and Synchrotron Radiation (IPS) of the KIT. The objective of the scientific collaboration is the development of methods for the in-situ characterization of thin films, multilayers and surfaces as well as the research of nanostructured surface coatings.

There is an increased need to study such systems under industrially and environmentally relevant conditions, such as high temperature/pressure, external mechanical forces, aggressive gas atmospheres or high electric or magnetic fields and low temperatures.

The beamline is best suited for such studies because of the heavy-duty diffractometer implementing a six-circle and a (2+3)-circle diffractometer, which can be used with loads up to 500 kg depending on the geometry, or a small Eulerian cradle for vertical four circle diffraction geometry. Its special design allows various types of sample environmental chambers to the users. A complete set of detectors is available. The detector arm can host two different detectors, allowing the recording of complementary information simultaneously. The key parameters of the beamline are summarized in > Layout/Characteristics and the diffractometer in > Instrumentation.


The types of experiments that can be performed are:

  • Crystal Truncation Rod measurements to study the atomic structure of thin films, surfaces, multilayers and buried interfaces
  • Experiments under grazing incidence to obtain nm scale depth resolved structural and chemical information
  • Specular and off-specular reflectivity measurements providing the sample electron density profile normal to the surface and the surface and interface roughness profiles
  • Resonant scattering measurements to characterize collective electronic phenomena
  • In-situ diffraction experiments at high or low temperatures and under gas atmospheres using heavy sample environments
  • Time resolved experiments to study growth kinetics and interface evolution under controlled conditions.
  • Many other standard diffraction experiments
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