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Interaction of X-rays with matter – development of X-ray physics teaching experiments at the DanMAX beamline (2024)

ECTS credits:



Course parameters:

Language: English

Level of course: PhD course

Time of year: Q1 2024

No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: 35 contact hours / 60 h total + exam

Capacity limits: 6 participants

Course fee: PhD students enrolled at a Danish University: 0 kr. PhD students enrolled at non-Danish universities DKK 5,000.


Objectives of the course:

The primary aim is to give the students hands on experience conducting and developing new experiments on a state-of-the-art beamline while learning the fundamentals of X-ray interaction with matter. A secondary aim is to train the students in explaining both the theoretical aspects and the practical experimental aspects by developing an exercise guide so others can perform the experiments in the future.

Three experiments covering a wide area of X-ray physics, scattering theory and diffraction are foreseen:

  1. Reflectivity from a Si wafer with and without coatings. Keywords: Beam and sample alignment, refractive index for X-rays, buried interfaces and surface roughness.
  2. Absorption and scattering from a noble gas: Keywords: Absorption edges, atomic form factors, Thompson and Compton scattering, beam polarization.
  3. Diffraction anomalous fine structure from RbBr. Keywords: Structure factors, symmetry and extinct reflections, absorption edges.

The product of the course will be three different experiments that will be offered to students as part of the general teaching initiative at DanMAX. They may further be included in the planned upgrade of the textbook using in the course.


Learning outcomes and competences:

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Explain the relevant theoretical foundation of X-ray interaction of matter.
  • Perform reflectivity, scattering and diffraction experiments at the DanMAX beamline.
  • Account for how the experiments are carried out and prepare an experiment guide for M.Sc. students to repeat the synchrotron experiments.
  • Based on the theoretical foundation of X-ray interaction of matter, perform data analysis of the recorded data.


Compulsory programme:

Participation in lectures is mandatory.

Participation in the full program at DanMAX is mandatory.


Course contents:

February: 3 lectures by Jens Als-Nielsen (may be on-line): introducing the topic and the experiments.

28 and 29 February: Experiments at DanMAX.

Beginning of March: 2 data analysis workshops (may be on-line).

22 March: Deadline for exam reports.



Students must be enrolled in a PhD programme in a relevant field, e.g.: Materials Science, Solid state chemistry, Solid state physics, Nanoscience etc.

The students must be familiar with commons concepts in Materials Science and X-ray scattering/diffraction i.e. unit cells, the atomic form factor, the structure factor, Rietveld refinement.

Basic Python programming skills is required. Students must bring a laptop for the experiments in Lund.

Participants must be able to travel to Lund and must be able to participate actively in the laboratory work at DanMAX. The experiments at DanMAX will be performed over two days and is expected to last 12-16 hours each day.


Name of lecturers:

Mads Ry Jørgensen (Senior Researcher, Aarhus University)

Jens Als-Neislen (Professor Emeritus, University of Copenhagen)

Frederik Gjørup (Postdoc, Aarhus University)


Type of course/teaching methods:

Lectures (may be on-line), Experiments at DanMAX/MAX IV in Lund, data analysis workshops (may be on-line)



Jens Als-Nielsen and Des McMorrow: Elements of Modern X-ray Physics


Course homepage:



Course assessment:

Written group (two students) report over one of the three experiments (chosen at random after the experiments). The report will consist of 1) an exercise guide for M.Sc. students to conduct the experiment, and 2) an analysis of the obtained data.

The report is graded pass/not passed.



Department of Chemistry


Special comments on this course:

Transportation from Aarhus to Lund (27 February) and back (1 March) will be organized and is included in the course fee. Accommodation in shared double rooms will be provided (cost included in the course fee) during the days in Lund (27 February – 1 March)



February and March 2024



Lectures and data workshop: Aarhus University, Aarhus C – may be on-line.

Experiments at DanMAX: MAX IV Laboratory, Lund, Sweden


Course fee:

Course fee: PhD students enrolled at a Danish University: 0 kr. PhD students enrolled at non-Danish universities DKK 5,000.



Deadline for registration is 15 December 2023. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than 22 December 2023.

For registration: Please send a short application (max 1 page) to Mads Ry Jørgensen detailing:

  1. The topic of your PhD
  2. The name and email of your PhD supervisor
  3. Your experience with X-ray scattering, crystallography and synchrotron radiation
  4. Your motivation to enroll in this course

If you have any questions, please contact Mads Ry Jørgensen, e-mail: mads@chem.au.dk  

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