Sunday, 25 March 2012

Dielectric Spectroscopy for Soft Matter Research (Terahertz research in Spain part 1)

Written by Prof. Dr. Angel Alegria  who is the head of the Material Physics Department at University of the Basque Country, Spain in the European Soft Matter Infrastructure Newsletter

For more information click here (

The Dielectric Spectroscopy Laboratory (DSL) is one of the laboratories of the Material Physics Center (MPC), a joint research center set up in 2001 by the Univer- sity of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) in collaboration with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

Since then, the Polymers and Soft Matter Group (PSMG) laboratory has been further developed and upgraded in order to improve the quality of the different experimental set-ups and to facilitate the operation of the infrastructure by external users. The operative set-ups of DSL offer the unique possibility of performing high precision dielectric relaxation experiments over a huge range of frequencies (from 10^-5 to 3-10^10Hz, i.e. nearly 16 orders of magnitude).

Depending on the frequency range involved, these experiments can be carried out in different sample environments where temperature can be varied over a wide range (from 20 - 600 K) and pressure can be increased up to 300 MPa. Furthermore, the existing equipment allows experiments to be performed with simultaneous access to electric/dielectric and mechanical/rheological frequency dependent properties. The current range of instruments, listed in order offrequency range, are:

- Time-Domain Dielectric Spectrometer
- Broad-Band Dielectric Spectrometer
- High-Frequency Dielectric Spectrometer
- Micro-Wave Spectrometer

Technical details of the various instruments can be found on the ESMI website and at: 

Most of the equipment uses widely-avai- lable software, and the temperature control systems are such that different set-ups do not generally involve specific training for each piece of equipment. In addition to the dielect- ric spectroscopy instruments, the infra- structure also provides several facilities for sample preparation and standard sample characterization (such as DSC, TGA, PVT, etc.). Details can be found at:

The scientists in charge of the various instruments are: Dr. Silvina Cerveny (Micro-Wave and Tera- Hertz spectrometers), Dr. Gustavo Schwartz (non-conventional sample environment), Dr. Silvia Arrese-Igor (Time-Domain and standard Dielectric Spectrometers).

For more information about  the Spectra 3000 terahertz spectrometer click here

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