In order to foster long-term development of nanosciences and technology in the EU, the European Commission is providing 2.2 million euro to a unique Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) project combining expertise in synchrotrons, diffusion, magnetism, phonons and surface science. The DYNASYNC project, which stands for 'Dynamics in nano-scale materials studied with synchrotron radiation', aims to increase current knowledge in nanostructures' dynamics and to develop new methods of preparation, modelling and characterisation in order to improve the performance of future nanoscale devices. The consortium is also unique in that it aims to give a leading role to scientists of the new Member States, Polish co-ordinator Jozef Korecki, Professor of physics and applied computer science and member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, told CORDIS News. The consortium, which combines the available expertise of seven European countries - including Poland and Hungary, spent the first nine months of the project building both the infrastructure and the experimental method needed to study nanostructures' dynamics in depth. This is because knowledge of the dynamical properties of condensed matter are vital for the functionality of future nanoscale devices. As Professor Korecki explains, if an object is very small it is more susceptible to excitation than bulk materials. It is therefore essential to study dynamics properly and with a special methodology. 'This is because with nanostructures, the process is very fast - we are dealing with nanoseconds, with extremely short time scales. This is why we are using a method relating to synchrotron radiation which is similar to X-ray radiation. Nuclear resonant scattering (NRS) of synchrotron radiation is well suited to reveal the structure and dynamics of thin films, clusters, nanoparticles and interfaces because its time structure is not continuous but in pulses,' Professor Korecki told CORDIS NEWS. 'With this special method we gain added sensitivity as well as energy resolution,' continued the Professor. The initial phase of the project was devoted to the setting up of an ultra high vacuum system (UHV) at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, one of the partners in the project. 'The system has now been installed in the beam line ID18 and we are able to study dynamics using NRS of synchrotron radiation 'in situ', which means we can analyse samples without removing them from their place of origin,' explained Professor Korecki. 'This is important because the samples are very sensitive to the atmosphere. They have to be studied in a special sample environment, in this UHV [ultra high vacuum].' 'Now that we have the new system,' added the Professor, 'lots of improvements have to be made in our home labs so that they are compatible with the new system. Once this is done we will divide the samples between the different labs so they can be studied and measured.' The next phase of the project will be dedicated to four work packages that correspond to three classes of phenomena, namely diffusion, phonons and magnetisation dynamics. The project will study the different dynamical aspects on carefully selected model-nanostructures in order to understand the size dependence and interplay between the various excitation mechanisms. The fourth work package deals with instrumentalisation and software, which will form the basis of future experiments. 'We are only at the start of our project and we have already established that this new experimental method, which is unique in the world, can approach a broad class of dynamical phenomena,' enthused Professor Korecki. 'The combination of NRS experiments with advanced computational methods has produced unprecedented views into the modification of collective excitations, the role of diffusion in the kinetics of structural changes that occur during the processing of materials and the dynamical properties of magnetic nanostructures,' added Professor Korecki. According to Professor Korecki, by strengthening the impact of synchrotron radiation in the nanosciences, the project is creating a scientific case for new research infrastructure and is paving the way for new synchrotron radiation sources. 'Fundamental research always leads to new challenges,' concluded the Professor.