Synchrotron Radiation and XFEL Techniques

Course Information & Syllabus for Physics 450/520,  “Selected Topics: Synchrotron and XFEL Radiation and Techniques ” (FALL 2018)

Course Number and Name: Physics 450/520, Selected Topics: Synchrotron and XFEL Radiation and Techniques

Class Time and Location: 10:30 -11:20 am; GN 218A

Credits and Contact Hours: 3 credits (MWF); an additional hour each week (during office hours)


Instructor:  Dr. Edwin Fohtung

  • Phone: 575- 646-5631(NMSU-Physics); 505-667-8252 (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
  • Email: (Please use Canvas mail.)
  • Office: GD Hall 259A
  • Office hours: TBD or by appointment



  1. NA
  2. a) other supplemental materials: Handouts


Specific Course Information:


  1. Catalog description: Are you interested in investigating materials and their properties with unsurpassed accuracy and fidelity? Synchrotrons and XFELs (X-ray free-electron lasers) are considered to be Science’s premier microscopic tools. They’re used in scientific disciplines as diverse as molecular biology, environmental science, cultural heritage, catalytical chemistry, and studies of the electronic properties of novel materials – to name but a few examples. This course provides valuable insights into this broad spectrum of scientific disciplines, from the generation of x-rays – via a description of the machines that produce intense x-ray sources – to modern experiments performed using these facilities.
  2. Prerequisites or co-requisites:
  • This course is suggested for majors in Physics and Engineering Physics with concentrations in Aerospace, Chemical, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering.


Specific Goals of the Course:
This course provides valuable insights into this broad spectrum of scientific disciplines, from the generation of x-rays – via a description of the machines that produce intense x-ray sources – to modern experiments performed using these facilities.



  1. Specific outcomes of instruction: This course provides the fundamental knowledge of photon scattering and imaging at 3rd and 4th generation light sources.. Students should become proficient in a wide range of problems such as Fourier transforms, scaler diffraction theory, inverse problems in optics, crystallography and x-rays.
  2. Related ABET Outcomes:


Quizzes : There will be  both classroom written and quizzes, with the lowest 2 quiz grade being dropped. For written quizzes, you may bring a calculator and two handwritten A4 letter-size sheet with any notes and equations you fit on it. There are no makeup quizzes unless you have a medical doctor’s note or you are absent on university business.

Oral quizzes give you the opportunity to start conversations with faculty, other students, ask questions that other students or the course team can answer, and participate in the course community.

    • Use Meet and Greet to present yourself to others and socialize
    • Use Oral Quizzes to understand ideas related to each chapter

Exams:  There will be two exams during the semester (see the schedule for dates) one midterm and one final comprehensive exam. There are no makeup exams. No cheat sheets, books, laptop computers, smart phones, etc., or any other print or electronic media are allowed in exams.

IMPORTANT DATES (strictly enforced):


Last Day to Add a Course without Instructor’s Permission                       Thursday, August 16, 2018

Last Day to add a Course (Instructor’s Permission Required)                   Friday, August 24, 2018

Last Day to Drop Course with “W”
(Except courses carrying designated dates)                                            Friday, October 12, 2018

Thanksgiving Holiday for Students                                                         Monday – Friday, November 19 – 23

EXAM WEEK                                                                                          Monday – Friday, December 3-7

Grading Weighting:  The final grade will be determined by the following weighing:


Homework                                                                   20%

Quizzes                                                                         25%

Midterm Exam                                                              25%

Final Comprehensive Exam                                           30%


TOTAL:                                                                                      100%


Grade Scale: Grades at NMSU are expressed in letters, which carry grade points used in calculating your cumulative grade-point average (GPA). You can look up how grades are converted into grade points at Performance in my course will be allocated according to the following schedule:


90 – 100%                     A

75 – 90%                       B

60 – 75%                       C

45 – 60%                       D

0  –  45%                       F


Course Objective &Description: Physics 450/520 is an over view to advanced characterization techniques using 3rd and 4th generation light sources such as synchrotrons and XFELs. No prior knowledge of the subject matter  is required. The instructor assumes that students have taken  courses in “Algebra”, Advanced Calculus, Engineering physics and some basic understanding of “modern physics”.


Class attendance, class participation and quizzes: You are expected to read the scheduled sections in the text before coming to class. There is a fair amount of material covered in this course, so we generally move fast. We will not necessarily cover all the material in the chapters, but we will go over the more difficult parts. You will be responsible for all assigned material, however. In order not to fall behind, you must attend and participate in all classes, quizzes and exams. During class, you have the opportunity to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Home work will be in written format. We shall have both written and oral quizzes and exam formats



Tentative Lecture and Exam Schedule

A tentative lecture schedule is shown below. This schedule is subject to change without prior notice. The following topics will be covered in the course:

Chapter 1: General intro of x-rays, synchrotrons, and XFELs: 

Introduction, including examples; X-rays and society; What are synchrotrons and XFELs and why are they so in demand? X-rays and the electromagnetic spectrum. Basic concepts in x-rays.

Chapter 2: Interactions of x-rays with matter 

Interaction of x-rays with matter and the atomic form factor, f; Relating f to refraction, reflection, and absorption, including subsequent processes (fluorescence, photoelectrons, Auger electrons, secondary electrons).

Chapter 3: Basics of synchrotron (“machine”) physics  

Why accelerated charged particles generate electromagnetic radiation; Properties of relativistic electrons and radiation they emit; Using magnetic fields to steer electrons; RF sources and bunching.

Chapter 4: Basics of synchrotron (“machine”) physics, continued

Flux, emittance, brilliance, peak brilliance, diffraction limit, and coherence; Magnet lattice: dipoles, quadrupoles, sextupoles, undulators and wigglers; XFEL architecture, SASE, typical properties of XFEL pulses.

Chapter 5: X-ray optics and beamlines 

Front-end, mirrors, monochromators, harmonic suppression; Microfocus optics (CRLs, FZPs); X-ray detectors including area detectors and sources of noise; Detectors for XFEL experiments.

Chapter 6: Diffraction and scattering

Why use diffraction? Phase problem; Diffraction at synchrotrons – advantages with examples; Brief recap of description of crystals – Bravais lattice, basis, Miller indices, Bragg’s law, and the Ewald sphere; Typical setups for single-crystal and powder diffraction; Protein crystallography; SAXS and GISAXS.

Chapter 7: UV and x-ray spectroscopy  

Need for synchrotron radiation when scanning photon energy. Subsequent processes and their detection; XANES, EXAFS, and STXM with brief examples; STXM and XRF; PEEM/XMCD/XMLD; UPS/ARPES/XPS/HAXPES.

Week 8: Imaging techniques  

Tomography basics; Phase-contrast XTM and time-resolved XTM; CXDI;BCDI; Ptychography.

Week 9: Phasing techniques in coherent x-ray diffractive imaging

Students with disabilities: If you have, or believe you have, a disability and would benefit from any accommodation(s), you may wish to self-identify by contacting the Trudy Luken in the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office located at Corbett Center, Room 244 (646-6840; to register. If you have already registered, please make sure that your instructor receives a copy of the accommodation memorandum from SSD within the first two weeks of classes. It will be your responsibility to inform either your instructor or SSD representative (in a timely manner) if services/accommodations provided are not meeting your needs. If you have a condition that may affect you ability to exit safely from the premises in an emergency or that may cause an emergency during class, you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with the instructor or the director of Disabled Student Programs. If you have general question about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), call 646-3333. All medical information will be treated confidentially.


Academic and non-academic misconduct:

Misconduct is discussed at Any form of cheating or plagiarism is prohibited, and (if caught) the particular work (exam, quiz, homework, etc.) will be graded with a zero. Students should turn off cell phones, iphones, ipads , pagers, etc. Exams may be scanned or copied by the instructor before returning them to the student. Students should not modify exams and then return them to the instructor to avoid a misunderstanding. All appeals must follow the NMSU academic appeals policy (see catalog). Such appeals need to be in writing.


Code of conduct

Be respectful! Debate in a polite and respectful manner.

Be constructive! When commenting on other’s projects, try to offer constructive feedback and suggestions that help them improve it.

Be sensitive! Especially when discussing race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or controversial topics. Others may be more sensitive about them than you are.

Post appropriately! You may not provide inappropriate or copyrighted content in quizzes or homework without proper citations, advertise or promote outside products or organizations.


Excused Absences:

If, for a good reason (NMSU-sponsored event), a student cannot make the due date for a homework assignment or she/he misses a test or exam, the student should inform us beforehand to discuss other arrangements, if possible. If the student’s absence is due to an emergency, the student has to get in contact with us at the earliest possibility following that assignment. We reserve the right to request proof for the occurrence of the emergency (doctor’s note, police accident report, etc.)


Teamwork: Students are encouraged to form small teams (2-4 students) and work together on your homework. Each student needs to submit solutions separately. Mastering Physics may randomize questions and answers. Working regularly on your homework will reduce the stress during the exams.


Students with disabilities: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) covers issues relating to disability and accommodations. If a student has questions or needs an accommodation in the classroom (all medical information is treated confidentially), contact:

Trudy Luken, Director

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) – Corbett Center, Rm. 244

Phone: (575) 646-6840




NMSU policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, retaliation, serious medical condition, sex, sexual orientation, spousal affiliation and protected veterans status.


Furthermore, Title IX prohibits sex discrimination to include sexual misconduct: sexual violence (sexual assault, rape), sexual harassment and retaliation.


For more information on discrimination issues, Title IX, Campus SaVE Act, NMSU Policy Chapter 3.25, NMSU’s complaint process, or to file a complaint contact:


Gerard Nevarez, Title IX Coordinator

Agustin Diaz, Title IX Deputy Coordinator

Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) – O’Loughlin House, 1130 University Avenue

Phone: (575) 646-3635




Other NMSU Resources:


NMSU Police Department: (575) 646-3311

NMSU Police Victim Services: (575) 646-3424

NMSU Counseling Center: (575) 646-2731

NMSU Dean of Students: (575) 646-1722

For Any On-campus Emergencies: 911


Academic and non-academic misconduct:


Plagiarism is using another person’s work without acknowledgment, making it appear to be one’s own. Intentional and unintentional instances of plagiarism are considered instances of academic misconduct and are subject to disciplinary action such as failure on the assignment, failure of the course or dismissal from the university. The NMSU Library has more information and help on how to avoid plagiarism at