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  • The COST Action ‘NEXT’ for Extreme Ultraviolet to X-Ray techniques will be coordinated from IMDEA Nanociencia

The COST Action ‘NEXT’ for Extreme Ultraviolet to X-Ray techniques will be coordinated from IMDEA Nanociencia



  • An international network for non-linear Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray techniques will be coordinated from IMDEA Nanociencia.
  • Cristian Svetina coordinates the COST Action NEXT, involving researchers from 16 European countries.
  • The COST Action NEXT aims to be an instrument to foster cooperation between Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray facilities with the ultimate objective of promoting the X-ray non-linear spectroscopy science.

Madrid, November 30th, 2023. There are currently available a plethora of techniques to study Nature. Current capabilities however pose certain limitations as they are limited in spatial-temporal resolution or lack element selectivity or sensitivity, leaving many questions mostly unanswered still. For example: how to create more efficient functional nanomaterials to control heat transport, storage memory elements in a ultrafast fashion, or accelerate the rate of chemical reactions by photo-to-electro catalysis, to name a few. To solve this problem, scientist at IMDEA Nanociencia are leading an international effort to get sequences of images (videos) of ultrafast dynamics in nanoscopic systems with unprecedented resolution in a new way: using Extreme ultraviolet and X-ray non-linear spectroscopy.

               COST Action ‘NEXT’

There are many techniques under the Extreme ultraviolet/X-ray non-linear spectroscopy umbrella that could be exploited to expand our knowledge about novel nanomaterials. For this reason, the WavemiX network was born 4 years ago, during a conference in Ringberg (Germany). An exciting collaboration arose from that meeting, holding promise to cooperate efforts towards the Extreme ultraviolet/X-ray non-linear spectroscopy science. Short after, the Covid-19 pandemic burst and the next date for the group of scientists was celebrated online. 26 scientists, among them directors of laboratories and facilities across Europe, agreed to build the collaboration network that laid the foundations of the newly funded COST Action NEXT. The first in-person meeting of the group was held in Freiburg in September 2023.

This flagship event, co-organised by Dr. Svetina (IMDEA Nanociencia) gathered over 70 theoreticians, experimentalists, and machine scientists including High Harmonic Generation table-top laboratories and Extreme ultraviolet and X-ray Free Electron Lasers facilities. As of today, the WavemiX network counts of more than 200 members from more than 50 institutions and reached a critical mass to foster innovation in ultrafast spectroscopy.

The COST Action NEXT “An international network for Non-linear Extreme Ultraviolet to hard X-ray techniques” (CA22148) is a collaboration network that seeks to promote the X-ray non-linear spectroscopy science via the active cooperation between its members. The Action is coordinated from IMDEA Nanociencia by Dr. Cristian Svetina (chair), with Prof. Giulia Fulvia Mancini (Uni. Pavia, vice-chair) and Prof. Wojciech Gawelda (IMDEA Nanociencia/UAM, grant awarding coordinator). The Action NEXT seeks to organise networking activities: meetings, workshops, conferences, training schools, and short missions (for stays in other institutions). It is a 4-year project, and presently involves researchers from 16 EU countries, although the number will grow – one of the goals of the action is to increase their impact by adding more partners to consolidate the community around the new methods that are being developed.

NEXT involves different scientists communities in its 3 working groups: 1) Atomic molecular and optical physics (leader Dr. Caterina Vozzi, CNR, Italy); 2) Condensed matter (Prof. Martin Beye, Uni. Stockholm, Sweden); and 3) Chemistry and biology (leading Prof. Majed Chergui, EPFL Switzerland). The overall goal of the network is to be a useful instrument to gain new results and create knowledge. The initiatives of the Action allow for the scientists to gather, exchange ideas, trigger collaborations, start new collaboration campaigns, and involve new research groups, in particular to create a bridge between experimentalists and theoreticians. All the initiatives will be eligible for financial support from the COST Action NEXT, given that they follow the inclusivity criteria that is at the core of the Action. The inclusivity is pursued via 3 fundamental pillars: 1) involve young scientists, 2) pursue gender balance, and 3) invite inclusiveness target countries. Each pillar is coordinated from a different member institution.

               The coordination from IMDEA Nanociencia

The group ’X-ray Wave-mixing Spectroscopies (X-WaveS)’ led by Dr. Cristian Svetina at IMDEA Nanociencia is using transient grating to push forward the boundaries of knowledge at the X-ray science field with a collaboration with the European XFEL. In an international effort involving more than 40 scientists, the team is putting the foundations of this novel method by running a Long Term Proposal with the goal to reach the nanoscale resolution and distinguish the signals from different atoms composing the samples. This X-rays pulses (with high photon energy thus very short wavelengths), generated at X-ray Free Electron Lasers X-FELs (laser sources emitting intense pulsed X-rays) are mixed at a sample and, as a consequence, a new pulse is generated: the signal. Like in a good recipe, the outcome is much more than the sum of the single ingredients thus the signal carries all the information needed to understand how the material behaves. Extending this class of nonlinear experiments, routinely applied with optical lasers, in the X-ray domain would mean to be able to access to information on the transport processes, propagation of electrons between different atomic sites and the interplay of the degrees of freedom with sub-nanometer and ultrafast resolution with element and chemical specificity.

IMDEA Nanociencia collaborates with the European XFEL since 2021 to strengthen the scientific ties among both institutions. Prof. Rodolfo Miranda, director at IMDEA Nanociencia and chair at the Department of Condensed Matter (UAM) and Prof. Robert Feidenhans’l, director at the European XFEL, signed the agreement that would help to increase the impact of the X-Ray Free Electron Laser science in Spain. The Spain XFEL Hub is an IMDEA-UAM-CSIC international platform that intends to bring XFEL technology to those scientists working in Spain, and is led by Prof. Wojciech Gawelda (IMDEA Nanociencia/UAM) and Dr. José M. Martín (Instituto de Química Física Blas Cabrera, CSIC).

IMDEA Nanociencia is a research institution located in the Autonomous University campus, and houses 44 laboratories designed to host the research activities in Nanoscience and the development of applications in Nanotechnology in connection with innovative industries. IMDEA Nanociencia is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, the highest recognition of excellence at national level, and is the youngest centre in Spain to hold this distinction.

               What is next

Next events of the Action will be planned year by year, and shall be approved by the Management Committee members (2 from each participating country). The chair will propose an annual meeting in summer, starting in 2024. Meetings will be open and free of cost, and locally organised. Also, co-organised by COST, a summer school for students is planned to happen in 2024.

The NEXT framework also aims to create bridges between young scientists and industries. For this reason, relevant industries will be invited to meetings and round tables with the purpose of seeking their active participation and guide the research actions. As part of the fundamental pillars on inclusivity, activities involving experts on gender issues will be organised, with a focus on gender balance in research for your researchers and application selection for PIs.

COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. COST Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career and innovation.

COST Action Next receives funding from the European Union (grant no. CA22148).

More information:

COST website https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA22148/


Dr. Cristian Svetina
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
NEXT COST Action coordinator

Prof. Wojciech Gawelda
Spain XFEL Hub coordinator
wojciech.gawelda @imdea.org

Oficina de Divulgación y Comunicación de IMDEA Nanociencia
divulgacion.nanociencia [at]imdea.org
Twitter: @imdea_nano
Facebook: @imdeananociencia
Instagram: @imdeananociencia

Source: IMDEA Nanociencia.