4D Materials Physics


  • To develop X-ray and neutron diffraction techniques that allows in-situ investigations in 4D (space + time) of the structural evolution that takes place inside crystalline materials.
  • To exploit these 4D techniques to address a set of fundamental problems in materials science, such as nucleation and grain growth and the origin of plasticity.

The 4D methods make it possible to make movies of polycrystal evolution, where for each crystal (grain or sub-grain) one can determine the morphology, orientation, strain, stress and even crystallographic refinement. As an example with 3DXRD millimeter sized samples can be studied at synchrotrons with a spatial resolution of 0.5-5 μm and a time resolution of minutes-hours. Dedicated instruments have been established at ESRF in Grenoble, France,  APS in Chicago, USA, PETRA-III in Hamburg, Germany and at Spring-8 in Japan. Currently we are working on generalizing the methods to the nano-scale. 


Henning Friis Poulsen, professor – nanoscale imaging
Søren Schmidt, senior scientist – algorithms and software, grain growth

Jette OddershedeSoeren Schmidt



The stress evolution along the tensile z-axis in a notched specimen of Mg AZ31 as a function of applied load. Oddershede et al., Acta Materialia 60 (2012) 3570. 


3D grain maps before and after annealing of Al-0.1%Mn. Schmidt et al., Scripta Materialia 59 (2008) 491.

Current projects

  • Transmission X-ray Microscopy and its application within metallurgy
  • Multigrain crystallography (http://www.totalcryst.dk/)
  • Mapping of grain orientation and morphology in highly deformed metals.
  • Load partitioning in metal matrix composites, a multiphase stress investigation.



Henning Friis Poulsen
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 31 19


Søren Schmidt
Senior Scientist
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 32 18


Carsten Gundlach
Senior Research Engineer
DTU Physics
+45 22 38 42 41


Ulrik Lund Olsen
Senior Research Engineer
DTU Physics
+45 24 65 51 69