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Advanced Materials Analysis with Synchrotron Radiation: Techniques and Applications

Module PH2134

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2011/2

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2020/1WS 2019/20SS 2017SS 2013WS 2011/2

Basic Information

PH2134 is a semester module in English or German language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 40 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2134 in the version of WS 2011/2 was Johannes Barth.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


The use of photons as primary excitation source offers a rich variety of powerful tools, which prove invaluable in the effort to unravel the physical and chemical properties of condensed matter and to understand the underlying physical processes at the atomic scale. This lecture course provides a systematic and comprehensive survey of a plethora of experimental techniques which have been made available to scientists. Fundamental principles, mode of operation and basic instrumentation are presented for each technique, the potential and value of which will be illustrated by means of relevant and innovative applications and by focusing on the notable effects that can be unveiled. In this way, direct insight into a variety of diverse and fascinating phenomena can be gained, and the richness of outstanding structural, electronic and magnetic properties found in condensed matter will emerge.
Among the techniques that will be treated are:
- diffraction and scattering techniques;
- rotational and vibrational spectroscopy;
- electron spectroscopies including X-ray absorption and photoelectron spectroscopy;
- spin-resolved techniques;
- time-resolved spectroscopy including attosecond spectroscopy.
As many of these techniques are synchrotron-based, a special section will be devoted to the state-of-the-art synchrotron technology.
The physical content of the course is inherently interdisciplinary, focusing on phenomena at the crossroads among condensed matter physics, chemical physics, nanoscience and physics in reduced dimensions, catalysis and even biophysics.

Learning Outcome

Ultimate goal of the module is to provide a fundamental understanding of a variety of physical phenomena by exploiting photons as primary excitation source. After taking part in the module students will be able to:
1.  comprehend the basic principles and the potential of a number of important experimental techniques well-suited to explore the physical and chemical properties of condensed matter.
2. have an atomic scale picture of exciting physical phenomena, which involve the aggregation of atoms and are intrinsically related to the quantum behaviour of electrons, their complex interactions and dynamics.
Moreover, since many of these techniques are of growing importance for both academic and industrial research, students will develop a valuable knowledge of tools that they may need or may want to use in their future career.


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Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lecture, beamer presentation (slides), board work, discussion.
Visits to on-campus laboratories.
Visit to a synchrotron radiation facility also possible.


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Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 60 minutes.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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