Inspired By Excellence & Innovation

LUXEM collaborates with several academic & industry partners
towards R&D of innovative ultrafast techniques for imaging science,
advances in reconstruction algorithms, and novel
computational imaging methods.

Our Funded Research Projects

Advanced EUV/soft X-ray microscopy in the ultrafast regime: imaging functionality of nanomaterials across length scales – ULTRAIMAGE

Imaging charge, spin, and energy flow in functional materials when hit by a light pulse, is a current grand challenge in nanotechnology relevant to a host of systems including photovoltaics, optoelectronic and spin devices. The design of such materials relies critically on the availability of accurate characterization tools of how light-induced function and performance are related to nano-to-mesoscale electronic and lattice structural properties. 

To address this challenge, ULTRAIMAGE will introduce ground-breaking capabilities in microscopy of nanomaterials, providing access to their far-from-equilibrium states, with resolution on nanometer-to-Ångstrom length and femtosecond time scales. Key to this advance is the combination of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) to soft X-ray tabletop coherent light sources with a technique for coherent diffractive imaging called ptychography, in which multiple diffraction patterns from overlapping fields of view are processed by iterative algorithms to recover amplitude and phase images of sample and beam, separately. 

Nanoscale movies of the sample’s impulsive response, irradiated by ultrafast laser pulses, will be obtained with extremely high fidelity and in a non-destructive approach, with sub-20nm transverse resolution, 0.5Å axial precision, and ≈10fs temporal resolution. Each movie frame will be characterized by amplitude and phase images of the sample, with exquisite quantitative contrast to material composition, and to its topography. 

ULTRAIMAGE aims to introduce a world-class tabletop facility for ultrafast ptychography with coherent short-wavelength EUV light, which will enable the understanding with unprecedented detail of fundamental nanoscale behaviour, vital to a better design of energy-efficient next generation devices.

Funding ID:

ERC Starting Grant 851154

Probing functionality at the nanoscale: multimodal electron and soft X-ray ultrafast imaging – NANOFAST

The fundamental understanding of the roles of heterogeneities, interfacial processes, and disorder in materials behavior and chemical processes represents a Transformative Opportunity to move from ideal systems to the complexity of real systems under realistic conditions. In these systems, targeted functionality can be engineered by controlling the assembly of hierarchical architectures and beyond-equilibrium matter, thereby increasing dramatically the exploration space for enhanced function. The challenge is: how can we characterize the spatial and temporal evolution of these assemblies during function? 

NANOFAST tackles the need for novel strategies in characterizing and engineering innovative functional nanomaterials, through the study of their fundamental structure-property relationships. The functional materials to be studied are two-dimensional superlattices of metallic or semiconductor nanoparticles (NPs) covered by organic ligand shells. These samples are highly relevant in photovoltaics and LED devices, sensing and targeted drug delivery: they present order at different lengthscales and contain elements of very different atomic weight; they can be efficiently designed for application-specific functionalities by controlling intra- and inter-structural interactions through ligand/core chemistry and external light excitations.

At LUXEM, NANOFAST will lead to the implementation of a novel experimental strategy for ultrafast correlative imaging. For the first time, it will be possible to combine in a single experiment pulsed electrons and soft X-rays to study complementary aspects these systems while functionality occurs, with resolution on Ångstrom-to-nanometer length and femtosecond (fs) time scales. 

In achieving these key objectives, NanoFast leads to the creation of a consortium for transformative advances in nano-imaging, aimed at bridging competences in colloid & interface materials science, in modeling and theory of nanomaterials’ electronic and structural properties, and in ultrafast and computational imaging modalities.

Funding ID:

Cariplo Foundation 2020-2544

Development of collaboration agreement with Universities for Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer

The collaborative framework Highlight, supported by Regione Lombardia and the University of Pavia, aims to develop a new line of research with a strong multidisciplinary character, and focused on the development of innovative nanostructured materials for high-tech applications in the field of nanotechnologies for electronics, optics and biomedical.

This project intends to create a new platform for the advanced characterization and engineering of nanostructured and composite materials, through the implementation of highly innovative instrumentation. This will enable novel strategies of investigation of materials’ micro-to-macroscopic properties, providing guidance towards the rational development of next generation devices for their realistic applications and marketability. 

Funding ID

Regione Lombardia RL 3776


Assessing the functionality of light-triggered hierarchically structured assemblies on the nanoscale will largely help in guiding the development of next-generation optoelectronics, photovoltaics and energy storage devices.

Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, DECIPHER aims to develop new inspection tools needed to probe the out-of-equilibrium dynamics of these assembly structures with unprecedented detail.

The combination of novel image reconstruction techniques with advances in pulsed electron beam technology will enable probing the nanoscale dynamics of functionalised materials with temporal resolution
down to the picosecond scale and spatial resolution down to the Angstrom scale.

Funding ID

101067016 HORIZON MSCA-2021-PF-01