Not everyone is allowed to work with these machines: The European X-ray laser “European XFEL” in the Hamburg metropolitan region and the Swiss X-ray laser “SwissFEL” at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen are among the most complex research tools in the world. Chemists at the University of Bremen are therefore justly proud that they are among the first to be able to use these ultramodern facilities.
The two impressive large-scale facilities – the abbreviation FEL stands for “free-electron laser” – went into operation a few weeks ago. Anyone wanting to do research with them has to be better than good – because time on these large devices is extremely precious, and only the most promising projects of proven high quality and relevance receive permission to use the ultramodern X-ray lasers. The chemists Matthias Vogt, Dr. Marian Olaru and Professor Jens Beckmann from the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Crystallography (IACK) at the University of Bremen now belong to this privileged group. And not only that: they were among the first international teams of “early users” in Hamburg and currently in Switzerland to be permitted access to the new large-scale facilities in the context of conducting pilot experiments.
“This is a great honor for my colleagues and me,” says the Bremen early-career researcher Dr. Matthias Vogt. The chemist is currently conducting pilot experiments with the brand new X-ray laser SwissFEL within a cooperation project with the expert team surrounding Christopher Milne at the renowned Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen. His research is in an area that is currently the center of attention as it is considered by both science and industry to be one of the most interesting future technologies: OLEDs. The abbreviation refers to organic LEDs, “the light of the future,” as Matthias Vogt puts it.
Compared to conventional LEDs, OLEDs have numerous advantages. They are for instance more flexible and extremely energy-efficient. In future applications, one not-too-distant day we will literally “paper” light onto walls and ceilings with OLEDs. Matthias Vogt and his colleagues also do basic research, in the course of which they have found a way to make the still expensive OLEDs much cheaper. The chemist trio and the University of Bremen have meanwhile filed a patent application for this trend-setting invention.