The collaboration supports the partnership between students of UPR and staff scientists of CHESS that will produce the techniques and hardware needed by the scientific community to study their materials with unique magnetic properties at HMF.
This past spring graduate students from UPR visited CHESS to take advantage of the lab’s state-of-the-art tools and to work alongside CHESS staff who are world leaders in synchrotron instrumentation and technique development.
I never thought I would have an experience like this.
Brenda Lee Vargas Perez, a graduate student on the Rio Piedras Campus at the University of Puerto Rico, says that she is excited to be a part of this research collaboration. “I never thought I would have an experience like this. This opportunity allows me to expand my research of inorganic materials with magnetic properties,” says Vargas Perez. “In addition, it provides me with invaluable scientific knowledge, and the opportunity to work with the CHESS staff, allowing me to grow as a professional and as a person,” she adds.
Vargas Perez’s research area is on the synthesis of inorganic materials with magnetic properties, and aims to analyze these materials using the X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) technique, something that will be widely used at HMF. She will also be working on the integral polarization control system for the HMF beamline, and will develop the first phase plate optics with scientists and engineers at CHESS.
Before design is finalized the main scientific techniques that will be used at the beamline need to be developed - and then further commissioned once the beamline is built. These students are currently exploring and developing these techniques, and when HMF goes on-line in January of 2025 these students will be its first users.
Louise Debefve, staff scientist and mentor of the program says that the science goals of the HMF project align nicely with the students’ research, and that there is much to be learned from both student and mentor.
“This is brand new,” says Debefve. “No one has ever done a collaboration like this before. First, we need to figure out what is even possible at the beamline, and then we can tailor these techniques for HMF. And just as the students are learning from us, we are also learning about their research. We are teaching each other.”
Debefve says that she has submitted a few beamtime proposals to other labs with high tesla magnets, in hopes of setting up test experiments at these beamlines. These projects will provide much needed insight into the type of data that can be expected when HMF comes on-line, and the students will receive more exposure to how other synchrotrons operate.
Tania Fernandez, a graduate student on the Rio Piedras Campus at the University of Puerto Rico says she is excited that her research of a fluorescence detector will be used in the new HMF beamline. “The development of a new high magnetic field beamline will allow me as a graduate student to specialize my studies in spectroscopy of compounds that exhibit magnetic properties,” says Fernandez. “This [detector] will provide a new technology for the scientific community to study their magnetic materials.”
Debefve explains that a workshop focusing on HMF is forthcoming, and will explore the scientific possibilities of the beamline. More importantly, says Debefve, is that the workshop will aim to better understand the needs of the scientific community and to engage with those who will be interested in using the unique capabilities and techniques at the future High Magnetic Field Facility.
we are excited to engage with researchers in chemistry, biology, engineering, and others...
“We want to engage experts in various fields and how they envision HMF empowering their research. We are confident about the beamline being used for physics and quantum materials, but we are excited to engage with researchers in chemistry, biology, engineering, and others, as these are untapped areas that HMF will certainly empower.”
Debefve says that the students will be a large part in the organization and the coordination of the workshop. And while the students are currently back home in Puerto Rico, they will be coming back frequently to CHESS to further their research and contributions to HMF.
“I can’t wait to get back to work at CHESS,” says Fernandez Felix. “The workspace and my research team led by Louise Debefve and Chris Pollock, Staff Scientists, is too exciting for me. The opportunity to be part of their team has allowed me to challenge myself and believe more in my abilities as a scientist.”