Project: XMUM

X-ray Magnetic UltraMicroscopy

The XMUM project consists in developing an imaging technique with nanoscale resolution for 2D and 3D magnetic structures (both ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic) by using coherent X-ray beams. Such technique is about to become possible with the advent of the new source of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), which will be 100 times brighter than the previous one and will be unmatched worldwide.

Magnetic properties of materials depend not only on their atomic scale structure, but also on their microstructure: magnetic domains, domain walls, complex spin arrangements such as vortices and skyrmions… These magnetic structures are important features in fundamental physics and for key technological materials (permanent magnets, magnetic sensors and actuators, spintronics materials). Their relevant length scales range from a few nanometres to a few micrometers. Ferromagnetic structures can be imaged up to now with nanoscale resolution by several techniques that exploit their net magnetic moment (Magnetic Force Microscopy, Lorentz microscopy, Kerr effect, X-ray circular dichroism…). However, these techniques remain blind to antiferromagnets, whose net moment vanishes at scales larger than the crystallographic scale.

The new approach proposed in the XMUM project, with emphasis set on the tomographic mode, will suffer no comparison regarding antiferromagnetic materials, and fill a gap between neutron and electron tomographies regarding ferromagnetic materials. These methods benefit fully from the standard advantages of elastic x-ray scattering techniques: they are non-destructive, element specific, access buried samples and admit various sample environments. They are particularly needed for 3D investigation of magnetism but will also be useful for 2D imaging, and can be applied in any scientific field dealing with magnetism: fundamental magnetism, spintronics, permanent magnets, geomagnetism, biomagnetism…

Funding: 559 k€

Scientific project timeline:  01/2020 – 01/2024

Scientific leader: Guillaume Beutier (SIMap, Grenoble)


SIMap (Grenoble, France)

ESRF (Grenoble, France)

Institut Néel (Grenoble, France)

Spintec (Grenoble, France)

Institut Jean Lamour (Nancy, France)