The penetration depth of X-rays, together with the brilliance of synchrotron radiation, make X-ray scattering and diffraction highly attractive for characterizing thin-films and nano-structures, in particular for in situ studies of structure evolution. Within the SCATTERING cluster we apply methodologies based on

  • Phase retrieval/coherent scattering,
  • High-resolution diffraction, microfocus analyzer-based diffraction, 3D reciprocal space mapping, low resolution scattering (SAXS/GISAXS)
  • Diffraction/imaging/spectroscopy, 3D spatially-resolved diffraction laminography imaging and scattering correlation, spectroscopy and structure correlation

to study strain and shape analysis for the quantification of defects in epitaxial thin films, nanostructures and functional thin-film materials and devices.  Being highly complementary to locally resolving electron microscopy, these X-ray techniques give access to macroscopically representative statistical structure correlation properties on the micro-, nano-, and atomic length scale. Moreover, coherent diffraction imaging techniques provide access to individual nano-objects.

Facilities at KIT include the NANO beamline, with supporting laboratory infrastructure dedicated in situ facilities for Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD), Metal-Organic Vapor Phase Epitaxy (MOVPE), high-power laser-processing, Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE), and sputtering, all with portable growth chambers, enabling in situ X-ray scattering experiments during thin-film and nanostructure formation. 

X-ray technologies are complemented by extensive surface and thin-film analysis in the UHV-Analysis Laboratory with its ultra-high vacuum transfer system, offering several docking stations for portable and stationary growth chambers and access to UHV surface analytics. Selected nanosystems can thus be treated by Argon sputtering and annealing and can be analyzed by Reflection High-Energy Electron Diffraction (RHEED), Low-Energy Electron Diffraction (LEED), Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES), XPS, as well as Atomic-Force Microscopy (AFM) and Scanning-Tunneling Microscopy (STM). The Femto Lab. implements laser-based ultrafast methods for the dynamic characterization of nanoscale matter.