The outstanding properties of synchrotron radiation (SR) allow manifold investigations of materials and processes which are not possible with conventional X-ray sources. The high intensity of SR allows extremely precise or time/spatial resolved measurements. In combination with its high collimation extremely high angular resolution is achievable. Typical applications of these properties are high resolution powder diffraction, small angle scattering and the investigation of surfaces.
The white spectrum of SR allows free choice or tuning of the X-ray energy. This property is used in X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) for the determination of the short range atomic order allowing also the structural investigation of amorphous or nanocrystalline substances. Free choice of the wavelength further allows contrast enhancement by anomalous scattering yielding element specific information. The low absorption of high energy SR enables the investigation of bulk properties.
Typical examples of applied research with SR are the (in situ) investigation of catalysts by XAS, small angle scattering and diffraction and the determination of strain and texture in materials arising during their production, processing and use.