The determination of crystalline structure has traditionally been accomplished by means of single crystal and polycrystalline x-ray diffraction techniques. Both have been developed extensively and have had great success over the years. Nanoscience has presented several fundamental problems that cannot be solved by current techniques of any kind, therefore hindering the progress in the understanding of basic issues. For instance, \"what is the atomic arrangement and composition of a nanocrystal?\" New, non-traditional x-ray scattering methods must be developed in order to answer these questions. The Kycia group intends to resolve fine details of the atomic structure nanoparticles and nano-sized structures. These studies are being performed by high energy x-ray diffraction, (high resolution radial distribution method) and by anomalous x-ray diffraction method. These methods that Kycia has been developing over, are proving to be useful with many applications. The group continues to study the chemical composition, strain and elastic energy of self-assembled islands and other epitaxial systems by means of grazing incidence x-ray diffraction. The group is also developing powder diffraction and multiple beam diffraction for ab-initio structure determination of systems ranging from quasicrystals to protein crystals.
Establishing an International Presence
Funding from an NSERC grant “Inter-American Materials Science Collaboration” has enabled the Kycia group to travel to Brazil to perform experiments at the LNLS synchrotron facility; participate in international workshops on x-ray diffraction and meet with collaborators. Kycia is a member of the NSLS Brookhaven National Lab synchrotron facility’s Beamtime Review Committee that evaluates all diffraction and scattering proposals submitted to the NSLS and is an elected member of Cornell’s Synchrotron User’s Committee for 2007-2010.
On the National Front
Kycia is vigorously contributing to the development of the Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon. He is a member of the Beamtime Advisory Committee. As of now, the relatively new CLS still does not have the infrastructure for performing x-ray diffraction and scattering experiments for materials science. For this reason, Kycia took the initiative of leading a proposal for a new “Brockhouse Sector for X-Ray Diffraction and Scattering” to be constructed at the CLS. In Nov. 2006, the Canadian Foundation of Innovation announced its full support of the $27,837,504 national project and awarded U of Guelph with $11,135,000 of CFI support.
The Brockhouse Sector will provide the Canadian x-ray scattering community with a world class infrastructure. To network Canada's extensive materials preparation and crystal growth expertise in with the CLS The sector will support a diverse, active and successful community of Canadian and international scientists spanning the dissimilar disciplines of physics, chemistry, geology, environmental science, biology and engineering. The instrumentation will meet the researchers' diverse needs by providing excellent performance over a broad x-ray energy range from 5 to 100 keV.
As the Principle Investigator of the project, Kycia developed a novel instrumentation design, gained the commitment from Canada’s top x-ray diffraction experimenters and managed to secure the rest of the needed funding from Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Western Diversification Fund, vendor in-kind contributions as well as substantial financial commitment from a collaboration struck between IBM in Yorktown Heights, New York and the University of Guelph that has resulted in an initial $3.33M contribution to the project. Kycia formed a second collaboration with the Brazilian Synchrotron that is projected to lead to a $3.18M contribution to the project. Together, these contributions have enabled the Brockhouse Sector project to go forward. Today the project is in the final design and construction phase and is projected to be read for users in 2014.
At the University of Guelph
With students and University of Guelph Staff, Kycia has assembled a state-of-the-art ‘in-house’ x-ray diffraction and scattering laboratory aimed at solving the structure of novel materials such as nanoparticles and technologically important epitaxial structures. The x-ray lab serves as a resource to other research groups, inside and outside the University of Guelph. The Kycia group is using the U of G x-ray lab to enable significant amount development of innovative instrumentation and methods to be incorporated into the Brockhouse Sector Facility.