The Experimental Platform
Soft matter research requires a diverse range of experimental tools, from large central facilities such as the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science at Garching near Munich, Germany, which provides neutron beams for scattering experiments, to smaller specialised equipment belonging to individual partners, which is specifically designed to make measurements relevant to soft-matter research. Many of the instruments are not available commercially, and are often unique, having been developed by a research group with a certain experiment in mind.
The Experimental Platform maintains an inventory of where such equipment is located (see below on this page), which is then made available to visiting partner groups, including PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, who are given training in its use. “This infrastructure, which is perhaps the most sustainable and enduring element in the SoftComp Network, is unique in the world and has been a real success,” says Peter Schurtenberger of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, who leads the Experimental Platform.
Equipment includes novel light-scattering instruments and specialised microscopes, which are used to investigate structure at the microscopic length scales typical ofsoft-matter composites. Professor Schurtenberger’s own laboratory has a suite of such instruments which are suitable for studying samples relevant to industrial applications. Other research groups such as the team at the University of Leuven, Belgium, can offer specialised rheometers for measuring properties related to processing conditions. Characterisation at smaller scales can be done using neutron and X-ray scattering, spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance. “We now have the framework to create a virtual large-scale facility with an absolutely outstanding and unique instrument suite that allows the Network partners to make measurements over all necessary length and time scales for complex systems. That is one of the outstanding features of SoftComp,” says Professor Schurtenberger.
Experimental Platform Leader: Prof. Dr. Jan Vermant, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Contact: Jan Vermant
Overview Table: SoftComp Experimental Inventory
|Small-angle neutron scattering,(SANS)
High-resolution inelastic neutron scattering
Medium-resolution inelastic neutron scattering
Neutron defraction/polarisation analysis
|Wide-angle x-ray scattering
Small-angle x-ray scattering
…coming up soon
Diffusive wave spectroscopy
Small-angle light scattering
|Dielectric Spectroscopy (Time domain method)
Dielectric Spectroscopy (Frequency domain method)
|Rotational rheometry, strain controlled
Rotational rheometry, stress controlled
AFMFESEM, with FIB
Uni.VigoUniv. Rovira i Virgili