NC2SM is designed to become a leading national facility for advanced X-ray characterisation of materials that will be part of the technological solutions to the broad sustainability challenges (energy, circular economy, climate, health, conservation of art….).
A series of lab-based X-ray instruments, based on high power commercial X-ray sources, have recently been developed and are under further development. The broad range of instruments will enable X-ray experimentation in the lab with continuous access. This is especially important for the Dutch materials science community, since it lacks their own synchrotron. At the same time, continuous access in the lab provides a better integration in the research, accelerating the research, and allowing long term studies.
A combination of X-ray absorption/emission/photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray scattering and X-ray imaging will enable one to probe the structural and electronic properties, at different length scales, of surface and bulk, of a wide range of materials, including inorganic materials (e.g. catalysts, batteries, solar cells, art objects), polymer materials (e.g. coatings, paints) and biological materials (e.g. proteins, bone, hair). The combination of broad expertise in advanced spectroscopy, scattering and microscopy and investments in state-of-the-art next-generation lab-based characterization techniques places the broad community of Dutch scientists working on sustainable materials at the forefront of science.
The overall objectives of the centre are:
• To provide supported national access to Dutch researchers based upon scientific excellence of proposed projects, to leading research services in X-ray based characterization of sustainable materials including lab-based X-ray absorption/emission spectroscopy, X-ray tomography, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray scattering.
• To increase competitiveness of Dutch researchers in gaining access to synchrotron and free electron laser beamlines around the world, involving expertise, knowledge build-up by experiments at NC2SM facilities and availability of specific infrastructure such as in situ/operando cells.
• To reinforce the X-ray characterization community in the Netherlands and to promote the future availability of emerging compact X-ray sources that can compete in the field of materials characterization with synchrotron radiation.
• To provide broad user training on specific techniques via dedicated technique-specific training at the involved hubs, to provide broader training via a biannual summer school on X-ray characterization of sustainable materials.
• To liaise with the relevant communities in the Netherlands involved in frontier research in fields such as catalysis, energy research, materials science, arts conservation science, etc. as well as industrial partners.
The centre is well embedded in the Dutch materials landscape, supporting the many ongoing and upcoming programs, consortia, research centres and public private programs in the field. Moreover, many questions of the national science agenda can be addressed with the methods proposed.