Advanced scientific instrumentation


This historical transversal research line of M4 is articulated around two main activities; 

  • Activities within the Collaborative Research Groups (CRG) at the ILL (D1B) and development of new experimental facilities (XtremeD).  It also has included the design of neutron instrumentation to improve the existing instruments (D1B) and the design and construction of new ones (XtremeD).  The group M4 is responsible for coordinating the use at national level of Spanish CRG instruments in the ILL.
  • Activities in the field of advanced instrumentation for a better measurement of the thermal properties. In the last years the group M4 has developed  high sensitivity calorimeters, to study by means of these devices of, among others, layers of molecules and mono-crystals of materials with spin transition.  Also the group has developed and patented new devices to measure the temperature at the nanoscale resolution.

M4 scientists repeatedly use the ILL and the ESRF and are regular users of any other ICTS worldwide: SNS, NIST, OPAL, ISIS, FMRII, SINQ, MLF, APS, SPRING8, SLS, ELETTRA, DIAMOND, PSI, SOLEIL or BESSY

A network of national and international scientific collaborations has been developed.  Members of M4 participate in bodies, decision-making and advisory committees in ICTS.


A new neutron detector and ROC for D1B

The group has developed a new MWGC detector for the instrument D1B allowing a data acquisition 10 times faster that before. The new ROC allows the use of complex sample environment avoiding the undesirable signals that could mask the signals coming from the samples

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Monte Carlo simulations of neutron scattering instrumentation

The group developed MC simulation routines to study the generated background produced by the different neutron devices

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New specific heat instrumentation to measure the magneto caloric effect

M4 developed new devices.....

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Prototypes of Magnetic Refrigerators

allowing to determine the temperature in the nanometric scale

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Thermometry at the nanoscale

In response to the need of real-time non-contact thermometry with submicron resolution and high sensitivity readout in Nanotechnology in general and NanoBioMedicine in particular, the group has developed a new technology based on the use of luminescence nanosensors and a fluorescence detection instrument. The nanoprobes consist of ad hoc designed copolymers bearing lanthanide luminescence complexes.

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Nano calorimetry of molecules

Using micromachining technology, we fabricate and develop different types of membrane-based nanocalorimeters. They can be operated in either modulation (AC) calorimetry or relaxation calorimetry, over a broad range of temperatures and applied magnetic fields. We employ our devices for challenging studies on magnetic systems, including spin-crossover compounds and molecules for applications in quantum information and magnetic refrigeration on a chip

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Present Projects

The group is leading several advanced scientific instrumentation projects related with the activities mention before.

Development of the XtremeD diffractometer

The group is leading the construction of a new diffractometer for powders and single crystals at the ILL that will work under extreme conditions of magnetic field and pressure. This instrument will become a new Spanish instrument at the ILL.

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Calorimeter based on a Si3N4 membrane with a ca. 5 nanogram single-crystal flake of FePS3 (highlighted by dotted lines). Top right: Its experimental zero-field AC heat capacity that shows antiferromagnetic ordering (see the peak heat capacity in the inset). Sample is a courtesy of Samuel Mañas.

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Thermometry at the nano scale

The instrument consist of a fluorescence microscope coupled to a beam splitter, a CMOS camera and a software that transform the emission of the nanosensors into temperature images in real time. This system is able to map the temperature in the interior of cells and the local temperature of nanoheaters coated with the designed copolymers. The instrument is actually used in studies of mitochondria activity....,

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Since 1998, M4 is responsible of the management and scientific coordination of the Spanish CRG (Collaborating Research Group) at the more intense neutron source in the world, the ILL.  The instrument D1B is a high flux neutron powder diffractometer, equipped with a banana multi detector of 1280 channels, very well adapted for magnetic structures determinations and the study of structural phase transitions.

Funds and Research Contracts

Local hyperthermia cancer treatment studies using a new temperature-imaging-hyperthermia microscopy instrument

H2020-MSCA-IF-2017 (01/09/2018 a 31/08/2020)

World class Science and Innovation with Neutrons in Europe 2020 – SINE2020

H2020-INFRADEV-1-2014-1  (01/10/2015 a 30/09/2019)

Colaboración con Argentina en el uso de haces de neutrones en ciencia y tecnología de materiales y el desarrollo de instrumentación científica avanzada en ese ámbito

CSIC (I-COOP) – COOPB20319  (01/01/2018 a 31/12/2019)      

Elementos para un sistema de refrigeración magnética en el rango de temperatura de frigoríficos

BSH  (01/03/2018 a 31/07/2019) 

SpINS los CRGs españoles en el ILL

Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad  (01/01/1998 a 31/12/2023)    

XtremeD Project: construction of a new Diffractometer for extreme conditions of pressure and magnetic field

Institute Laue Langevin – OTT (CSIC)  (2016-2023)