Research Areas

The Billinge Group conducts scientific research in the atomic structure of materials at the nanoscale.  Materials with improved properties are needed to address many of mankind’s toughest problems such as sustainable energy, health and environmental remediation.  An emerging strategy is to try and design materials at the nanoscale (nanotechnology) but a huge experimental challenge is to characterize materials on these very small lengthscales.  Our goal is to develop and use advanced x-ray, neutron and electron scattering techniques, combined with advanced computing, to tackle this important and rich problem.

Our main tool is the atomic Pair Distribution Function (PDF), and our objective is to make the PDF analysis technique familiar to the scientific community by describing its methodologies and highlighting its potential in solving nanostructure problems that are intractable by any other technique available to this community. The Billinge group has released user-friendly software for PDF analysis, allowing to both obtain the PDF from total scattering data and do structural analysis in real space. Please see the software page for details on the programs.

Read more about the nanostructure problem:

S. J. L. Billinge and I. Levin, The problem with determining atomic structure at the nanoscale, Science 316, 561-565 (2007).

S. J. L. Billinge and M. G. Kanatzidis, Beyond crystallography: the study of disorder nanocrystallinity and crystallographically challenged materials, Chem. Commun. 7, 749-760 (2004).

…and find more information about our current research projects here:

Complex Modeling 

PDF computed tomography

Amorphous and Nanostructured Pharmaceuticals and Molecular Materials

Nanoscale Fluctuations in Exotic Electronic Materials

Magnetic Pair Distribution Function

Nanostructured Materials for Energy and Environmental Remediation

Lattice Dynamics and Bonding Strength of Nanostructured Materials