Nanospectroscopy

Welcome to XPEEM and LEEM @ Elettra

The study of nanostructured materials requires analytical methods that combine X-ray spectroscopy with electron microscopy. The Nanospectroscopy beamline at Elettra operates a state-of-the-art spectroscopic photoemission and low energy electron microscope (SPELEEM). This powerful instrument offers a wide range of complementary methods providing structural, chemical and magnetic sensitivity. The lateral resolution of the microscope currently approaches few tens nm. The microscope is served by a high photon flux beamline, which can deliver elliptically polarized photons in the range 50 eV to 1000 eV. Research applications are targeted to Surface and Materials Sciences, addressing issues related to chemical and magnetic characterization of surfaces, interfaces, thin films, and nanostructures.

Research Highlights | Publications | Applications | Agenda | Calendar | End-station

Graphene and h-BN by a Single Molecular Precursor

The fabrication of graphene h-BN layers is rather challenging. We report here a novel bottom-up approach to obtain a continuous almost free-standing hexagonal single layer with perfectly merging graphene and hexagonal boron-nitride domains using only one molecular precursor.
S. Nappini et al., Adv. Funct. Mater. 7, 1120 (2016).

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Stable magnetic skyrmions at room temperature

Magnetic skyrmions are chiral spin structures with a whirling configuration. By employing x-ray magnetic circular dichroism photoemission electron microscopy, we imaged for the first time the chiral Néel internal structure of stable skyrmions in sputtered ultrathin Pt/Co/MgO nanostructures at room temperature and zero external magnetic field.
O. Boulle et al., Nat. Nanotech. 11, 449 (2016).

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Fragmentation of magnetism in dipolar spin ice

Few cases exist where a system remains disordered as a gas or a liquid, even at the lowest temperatures accessible experimentally. Systems that simultaneously exhibit different order states  are even rarer.  Such a phase, “liquid” and “solid” at the same time, has been recently observed in a magnetic metamaterial, artificial spin ice.
B. Canals et al., Nat. Comm. 7, 11446  (2016);

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Island Ripening in a catalytic reaction

We have investigated a reaction-controlled ripening process of ultrathin vanadium oxide on Rh(111) during catalytic methanol oxidation. Under reaction conditions, neighboring vanadium oxide islands move towards each other and coalesce. This quasi-macroscopic ripening is explained by a polymerization-depolymerization mechanism which is sensitive to gradients in the adsorbate coverages.
M.  Hesse et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 136102 (2015).

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Fabrication of 2D heterojunction in graphene

Irradiation with very-low energy nitrogen ions is used to locally induce substitutional doping in graphene. Irradiated and non-irradiated areas are separated by a sharp boundary, stable up to 750 °C. Our experiments pave the way to the lithographic control of the electronic properties of graphene and provide a proof-of-principle for the fabrication of graphene-based heterojunctions.
A. Sala, Small 11(44), 5927–5931 (2015).

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Nanobubbles at extreme pressure under graphene

Graphene is able to trap mesoscopic volumes of liquid or gas, resulting in the formation of nanobubbles. Here we have investigated the morphology and spatial distribution of Ar under micron-sized graphene flakes supported on Ir(100), specifically addressing the dynamics of nanobubbles formation, their stability and the pressure which Ar is subject to. G. Zamborlini et al., Nano Lett. 15(9), 6162–6169 (2015).

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The properties of edge specific graphene nanoribbons

We have addressed the comparison of the structural and electronic properties of sidewall graphene grown with different edge terminations, showing that armchair and zigzag terminated ribbons, grown from SiC, have very different topographies and interact differently with the substrate. In particular, AC edge graphene is decoupled from a functionalized sidewall ribbon bonded to the substrate facet wall.
M. S. Nevius et al., Nano Lett. 14 (11), 6080–6086 (2014).

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Imaging the way molecules desorb from catalysts

We have investigated oxygen on Ag(111) combining structure sensitive electron microscopy with TPD into in the low-energy electron microscope (LEEM). Our approach allowed us to correlate the TPD spectrum to the evolution of the O-adlayer morphology, formulating a rate law to quantitatively reproduce the observed desorption kinetics. S. Günther, et al. Nat. Comm. 5, 3853 (2014);

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Towards the perfect graphene membrane

We address issues of the CVD graphene preparation on Cu foils with technological implications for the performance of the graphene based devices: first, hydrogen pretreatment performed prior to the growth process, second, the change in morphology of the Cu support occurring during graphene growth.
J. Kraus et al., Carbon 64, 377–390 (2013).

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Rippling of graphene on Ir(100)

Graphene on Ir(100), a support with square symmetry, provides a remarkable model for investigating the intriguing physics of the metal-graphene interface. We discovered flat and buckled graphene phases on that coexist at room temperature, forming stripe-shaped domains relieving the strain accumulated after cooling the film below growth temperature.
A. Locatelli et al., ACS Nano 7, 6955–6963 (2013).

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News | archive

LEEM/PEEM-11, Chongqing, PRC, October 31- November 3, 2018

LEEM-PEEM is a biennial meeting reviewing the status of LEEM, PEEM, SPLEEM, XPEEM and related techniques. The meeting promotes and disseminates applications of cathode lens microscopy to a broad audience of interested scientists. The workshop highlights the most recent scientific advances as well as instrumental developments. Topics will cover surfaces, thin films, organic films, surface chemistry, magnetism, time resolved methods, instrumental advances and novel applications of LEEM and PEEM to other subject areas. The 11th LEEM/PEEM workshop will be held at Westin Hotel in Chongqing, China. Dont'miss the workshop! to start with, visit the LEEM/PEEM 11 website.

Recent developments

Monochromator upgrade

We inform our users that the upgrade of the monochromator has been successfully completed and that the instrument is now fully operational. The monochromator was modified to solve long term stability issues and improve mechanical and optical operation. The monochromator is now extremely stable. A brief report on the monochromator performance is available here. Both Nanospectroscopy and NanoESCA accept external users since the beginning of March 2016.

Detector Gating for Time Resolved Measurements

In order to exploit the pulsed structure of synchrotron radiation in stroboscopic experiments, the imaging detector of the PEEM needs to be gated. The gating allows to activate the detector only after the specimen has been taken into an excited state. So far, gating has been done by applying a voltage pulse to the MCP output-plate, a solution that impacts negatively on the detector lifetime. We have developed a novel approach, where gating is done by an electrode inserted in the middle of the beam splitter. The electrode can deflect the e-beam, which is let through the contrast aperture or it is stopped on its surroundings. 

A high pressure chamber for the SPELEEM

A new high pressure chamber has been constructed and attached to the SPELEEM microscope as an ancillary facility for catalysis experiments. The high pressure chamber enables us to probe the sample using mass spectrometry via time analysis of reaction products. The chamber has been designed and developed in house, in collaboration with Prof. Mike Altman (Hong Kong University of Science and technology) and Prof. Ernst Bauer (Arizona State University). Please contact the personnel in charge if you are interested in further information or you want to collaborate.

NanoESCA beamline

A NanoESCA microscope (Omicron - Focus, GmbH) has been installed and commissioned on the Nanospectroscopy beamline second branch. The microscope is an electrostatic PEEM with double-pass hemispherical analyzer. The instrument is managed by an international consortium led by Forschungszentrum Jülich (Peter Grünberg Institute). The branchline has been open to Elettra general users in January 2012, with the name of NanoESCA. The NanoESCA website offers a wide perspective on the types of measurements that can be carried out with this instrument.

User Area



Proposal Submission

We invite users to discuss their proposals with the beamline contacts well in advance before the submission deadline. This is crucial for a careful assessment of the experiment feasibility and may lead to improvements in the proposed experimental plan. In a restricted number of cases, when doubts arise about the suitability of your samples or the planned measurements are too close to the microscope resolution limit, it may be possible for you to arrange a test. For more info, please visit the user info section.

Sample cooling

We regret to inform that the SPELEEM sample cooling stage is currently NOT available due to a leak in the cryostat.

Call for proposals

The deadline for proposal submission for beamtime allocation from January 1st to June 30th, 2017 will be September 15th, 2016.

All proposals will be performed with the SPELEEM microscope on the first beamline branch.

Access through CERIC

Nanospectroscopy is part of the CERIC-ERIC consortium. CERIC-ERIC offers access to more than 40 different and complementary state of the art techniques, distributed in 8 countries, with the submission of single or multi-technique proposals through a single entry point.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 17:04