13 April 2016

Unique opportunity for Danish companies in the competition to develop materials of the future


An agreement has just been finalized on Danish co-financing of the coming X-ray facility in Lund, Sweden - MAX IV. The agreement gives Danish companies and researchers direct access to use some of the world’s finest equipment for materials research, and will thus contribute to a Danish leading position within the development of new, advanced materials.

Illustration of the upcoming X-ray facility in Lund

The coming X-ray facility in Lund, Sweden—MAX IV. At MAX IV, Denmark will build its own two measuring stations, collectively called the DanMAX where Danish researchers and companies have the right of use of half the working hours.

Durable, strong, eco-friendly, resource-efficient, recyclable… The requirements for materials of the future are many and the companies that will be the first to develop and employ new materials solutions will also be strongest on the market.

Now, Danish researchers and companies will have a unique chance to get a head start in this competition. At MAX IV, Denmark will build its own two measuring stations, collectively called the DanMAX where Danish researchers and companies have the right of use of half the working hours without having to compete with foreign users.

The MAX IV synchrotron will be built in Lund in Skåne, Sweden, and will become neighbour to the neutron radiation facility European Spallation Source (ESS), which Denmark and Sweden co-hosts. In other words, ESS and MAX IV will together form the world’s best microscopes specifically dedicated to materials research, thus becoming a powerhouse for the entire Øresund region. MAX IV will be inaugurated on 21 June 2016, while ESS is expected to be completed in 2020.
“It is an extraordinary opportunity that we now have easy access to a unique, world-class facility which is also very close to Denmark. With DanMAX and the establishment of the LINX industry portal at DTU, Aarhus University, and the University of Copenhagen, the aim is to accelerate Danish materials research to a completely new level—including not least to address specific issues for a wide range of Danish companies,” explains Professors Bo Brummersted Iversen, Henning Friis Poulsen, and Robert Krarup Feidenhans’l, who form the team behind DanMAX.

Great opportunities for Danish businesses

It will cost just under EURO 13.3 million to build DanMAX, of which EURO 10.4 million is financed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, and Technical University of Denmark as well as Capital Region of Denmark and the Central Denmark Region. The remaining amount is financed by MAX IV. The two regions see great opportunities in MAX IV and the future Danish measuring station:

“Central Denmark Region is keen to ensure that companies in Central Jutland have access to research and development in the highly specialized materials technology in special positions of strength.

In the longer term, it is not least relevant for food and energy companies,” says Bent Hansen, Chairman of the Regional Council of Central Denmark Region.

“We want to create a healthy and green region where it is attractive to live and work, and it’s therefore important that we continue to invest in the jobs of tomorrow. With the new facility, we hope to attract talented researchers and exciting companies that can help to ensure growth in Greater Copenhagen,” says Chairman of the Regional Council of the Capital Region of Denmark, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen.

DanMAX will be one of a total of 14 beamlines at MAX IV, which is under construction. The beamline contains two measuring stations, one of which measuring station is to be used for 3D imaging and the other for diffraction measurements. The imaging can be used to study the inner structures of materials—both under static conditions and over time. The diffraction measuring station could, among other things, be used to examine the atomic structure of molecules and study the chemical processes by means of battery charging and discharging. The DanMAX instruments are being built at DTU and Aarhus University.

A glimpse into the invisible insides of materials

MAX IV is the most advanced X-ray facility of its size and is specifically dedicated materials research. Different measuring stations will form part of synchrotron, where X-rays can be used for different types of materials testing.

In addition to the time which is booked for Danish DanMAX users, Danish researchers will have access to the entire MAX IV through peer reviews, where their research projects are assessed in relation to all other applicants. Danish companies will typically have access to DanMAX through collaborations with one of the two Danish industrial portals: Imaging DTU and Diffraction AU. The companies can contact either of these portals if they have materials which they wish to have examined, as well as get help for more advanced studies at DanMAX.
Among other things, the DanMAX equipment will be used to make 3D images of materials - both statically and over time. This means that researchers can achieve a much better understanding of what is happening in the invisible internal parts of the materials, for example while they are exposed to different impacts. For example, you can examine where and how a fracture in a wind turbine blade develops while the blade is subjected to stress, or how insulin is distributed in the skin during injection. DanMAX can also be used to study mole-cules and chemical processes right down to the individual atoms.

When 1+1 is 3—MAX IV and ESS

DanMAX not only ensures Danish access to MAX IV. The neighbouring European Spallation Source (ESS) also ensures an obvious opportunity for complementarity between the use of MAX IV and ESS, which is of high relevance for Danish companies and researchers.

When opening in 2019, ESS will be the world’s most powerful neutron source for research purposes and will benefit a broad spectrum within research and science - from life sciences to building materials, and from heritage conservation to magnetism.

Knowledge provides head start

As the examples above show, in addition to DanMAX (and MAX IV), ESS also boasts applications within a very wide range of materials and companies. Today, we are surrounded by advanced and complex products combined from many different materials in complex manufacturing processes. Those having the biggest understanding of the properties and behaviour of materials, both during and after processing, and their subsequent use, will also get the biggest head start in the competition to develop the best products - whether in relation to medicine, food, batteries, building materials, or wind turbines.



Professor Henning Friis Poulsen, DTU Physics, DTU, tel. +45 23 39 69 38, hfpo@fysik.dtu.dk
Professor Bo Brummersted Iversen
, Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University, tel. +45 27 78 28 87, bo@chem.au.dk
Professor Robert Feidenhans’l
, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, tel. +45 28 75 03 97, robert@nbi.ku.dk
Sophie Hæstorp Andersen
, Chairman of the Regional Council of the Capital Region of Denmark, via Office, tel. +45 70 20 95 88
Bent Hansen, Chairman of the Regional Council of the Central Denmark Region, tel. +45 40 31 37 07
Lars Christensen, Head of Division, Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innova-tion, the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, tel. +45 72 31 84 72, lach@fi.dk