X100 used at Diamond Light Source
A recent set of experiments at the Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire (http://www.diamond.ac.uk/), has seen the Xtralien X100 used to help understand crystallisation processes within perovskite thin films. Perovskites are a new class of semiconductor material that are easy to process using ultra-cheap solution-based techniques, and combine efficient optical absorption with very high charge carrier mobility. For this reason, many researchers are excited by the prospect that perovskite thin-films could be used in a range of optoelectronic devices including light-emitting diodes, lasers and photovoltaic devices. Here, the best efficiency for a perovskite photovoltaic device stands at a little over 20% - a value not far behind that of crystalline silicon.
Characterising the structure of the perovskite films at nanometer and sub-nanometer length-scales is key to understanding their electronic properties. There are a number of experimental techniques that can probe such length-scales, one of which is grazing incidence x-ray scattering (GIWAXS). In this technique, a high-intensity, focussed beam of X-rays is shone onto a sample, and optical scattering as a result of diffraction from the atoms (or molecules) in the sample can reveal critical information about characteristic length-scales, crystallisation and film morphology.
Very recently a group of researchers from the University of Sheffield and the University of Cambridge have been performing GIWAXS measurements at the Diamond Light Source, with the X100 being a key part of the experiment. Here, the current-sensing capacity of the Xtralien X100 was put to good effect by monitoring the interaction of the x-ray beam with a perovskite sample.