A pEek on the lab

Univerza v Novi Gorici (Slovenia)

Contacts: Iztok ARČON, iztok.arcon@ung.si

Web-site: https://www2.ung.si/~arcon/xas/aboutus/iarconcv.htm


"Laboratory of Quantum Optics (LKO) uses different X-ray and UV spectroscopic methods based on innovative light sources for characterization of functional nanomaterials"

Laboratory of Quantum Optics (LKO) at University of Nova Gorica

The Laboratory of Quantum Optics (LKO) at University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia, uses X-rays at different synchrotron radiation facilities for the characterization of atomic and molecular structure of new functional nanomaterials, and biological and environmental samples with X-ray absorption spectroscopy techniques (XANES and EXAFS). It has expertise in the state-of-the art numerical analysis tools for operando XAFS analysis of different Li-ion and Li-S battery materials, and different (photo)catalysts.

Furthermore, the LKO is focused also on investigating ultrafast response of electrons in semiconductors, topological insulators, superconductors, and metal/organic interfaces for use in electronics, spintronics, and energy harvesting. The lab members also actively participate in the development of the FERMI free-electron laser, one of the most powerful laser sources worldwide, which is opening new opportunities for exploring the structure and non-equilibrium states of condensed, soft and low-density matter, to get information on the basic processes occurring in matter at molecular and atomic level.


"Illustration of operando Fe K-edge XANES spectra measured on Li-ion battery."


Operando Fe K-edge XANES spectra measured on the Li2-xFe0.8Mn0.2SiO4 cathode material for Li-ion during battery charging, revealing oxidation of Fe2+ to Fe3+, as a consequence of Li extraction (R. Dominko, I. Arčon, et. al. “On the origin of the electrochemical capacity of Li2Fe0.8Mn0.2SiO4”, J. Electrochem. Soc. 157 (2010) A1309-A1316)

"Illustration of EXAFS spectroscopy as a method for structural analysis of materials on atomic level."


Extraction of the EXAFS signal from absorption spectrum, illustrated on the example of XAS spectrum measured on metallic Rh foil. Fourier transform magnitude of the k3 weighted Rh EXAFS spectrum reveals the contributions of individual Rh neighbour shells in the crystal structure.


"Full professor at UNG"


The main research field of prof. dr. Iztok Arčon is analysis of atomic and molecular structure of new functional materials (different catalysts and photocatalysts, cathode materials for Li-ion, Li-sulphur and Mg-sulphur batteries, ferroelectric and ferromagnetic ceramics, …) and analysis of environmental pollution (soil, water and plants), with X-ray absorption spectroscopy with synchrotron radiation (methods XANES, EXAFS).

In addition, he uses synchrotron radiation for experimental study of multielectron photoexcitations in free and bound atoms, to provide information on collective motion of electrons in the atomic system, and exact atomic absorption background in EXAFS spectra. Since 1989 he obtained with coworkers over sixty research projects at different European synchrotron radiation laboratories (DESY, Hamburg; Elettra, Trieste; ESRF, Grenoble; Alba in Barcelona; Soleil, and previously Lure, Paris), and performed experiments with different advanced synchrotron radiation techniques.

Until 2022 he published more than 200 scientific papers in reviews with high impact factor and his work is highly cited (over 3500 citations). He is a delegate for Slovenia in the European User Synchrotorn Organisatio (ESUO). In last ten years he was a member of project evaluation committees at four synchrotron radiation facilities (PETRA III at DESY, CERI-ERIC at Elettra, at ESRF and at Soleil).

He received three Slovene national awards for his scientific work: the Jožef Stefan Golden Emblem Prize Award in 1996 for his PhD thesis research work, in 2006 he was awarded the national “Zois award” for outstanding achievements in the field of X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and in 2020 he received Pregl Award of the National institute of Chemistry for Exceptional Achievements in the field of chemistry and related disciplines.