Materials that know what to do
Functional materials are artificial, in most cases submicroscopic substances capa-ble of solving certain prescribed tasks. Facilities of FunMatLab are used, in the first place, for preparing, characterizing and performing experiments with high-energy radiations (i.e., γ-photons and X-rays, neutrons and accelerated ions) on functional materials from which nanosized switching and storage units can be developed. Moreover, FunMatLab equipments are suitable for other purposes like investigating artifacts of cultural heritage, too.
FunMatLab is an open-access research infrastructure (RI) accessible to all scien-tists, developers and students worldwide.
Major FunMatLab facilities include:
The latter facility includes transient optical absorption as well as time-resolved fluorescence and stimulated Raman scattering (fs-SRS) techniques (both under development). The X-ray and laser techniques have been developed since 2010 using an ERC grant and the national excellence programmes Momentum, VEKOP and NKP.
Most of the analytical methods are non-destructive preserving valuable samples. X-ray and Mössbauer methods have chemical sensitivity, the pump-probe tech-niques unveil details of ultrafast molecular dynamics, Mössbauer spectroscopy and neutron reflectometry have magnetic sensitivity, etc. Current research topics of groups recently using FunMatLab include studying ultrafast transitions in light-activated functional molecules, applying X-ray spectroscopy as probes with the final aim of developing smart materials of matching structure and function. Fun-MatLab facilities can be efficiently used for research related to various missions of the European Commission, most notably to Mission 4 having set the aim of building climate-neutral and smart cities.
FunMatLab offers sample preparation and research services that serve as precon-dition of accessing numerous pan-European RIs such as ESRF, ESS and the EU-XFEL. Proposals can be submitted any time. In case of a positive outcome of the feasibility study, financial, cooperation and intellectual property conditions will be negotiated in line with public and transparent rules. FunMatLab encourages access-ing the facilities in ‘smart-access’ mode, i.e. with mail-in samples and, if possible, remote control by the user.