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Using Nano-focussed Bremstrahlung Isochromat Spectroscopy (nBIS) to Determine the Unoccupied Electronic Structure of Pu

Abstract

The investigation of the actinides is of great interest because of their unique electronic structure. At the pivotal point of the behavior of the electronic structure of the actinide series is plutonium. Pu has the most complex phase diagram of all metals, both with regard to the intricacy of the crystal structures and the number of different phases. While there are a number of ongoing experimental efforts directed at determining the occupied electronic structure of Pu, there is essentially no experimental data on the unoccupied electronic structure of Pu. We aim to determine the conduction band (unoccupied) electronic structure of Pu and other actinides in a phase specific fashion and emphasizing bulk contributions by using Nano-focussed Bremstrahlung Isochromat Spectroscopy (nBIS). BIS is the high-energy variant of inverse photoelectron spectroscopy (IPES: electron in, photon out), which is essentially the time reversal of photoelectron spectroscopy (photon in, electron out). IPES can be used to follow the dispersion of electronic states in ordered samples. Owing to its low energies, IPES is usually very surface sensitive. However, by working at higher energies, we will sample preferentially for bulk properties, downgrading the impact of surface effects. Thus, from BIS, we would have a direct measure of the conduction band or unoccupied electronic structure of the bulk Pu. By using a nano-focused electron source associated with a SEM, we hope to gather phase specific information from crystallites within polycrystalline Pu samples. We will discuss the experimental arrangement required to carry out such an experiment and our progress in building such a system.

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