Smilgies is a trained physicist and surface scientist. He received his education in Germany at the University of Göttingen and the Max-Planck-Institute for Fluid Dynamics, culminating in a thesis on the reconstruction of a clean metal surface studied with helium atom scattering. Then he turned to work with synchrotron radiation and since has been working on the study of materials properties and interfacial effects with grazing-incidence x-ray scattering for over 20 years. After brief postdoctoral stays in the Bell Labs x-ray group at Brookhaven National Lab, the Rutgers chemistry department, and Risø National Lab in Denmark, he became a staff scientist at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, where he built and lead the Troika II beamline for scattering from liquid and solid surfaces. Smilgies joined CHESS in 2000 and was instrumental in the design and construction of G-line. Since 2004 he has been developing D1 station to one of the leading beamlines for the in-situ and real-time study of thin films of functional nanomaterials [1-9].
Says Smilgies: "We have recently started exploring materials behavior during coating processes . This is an exciting interdisciplinary research frontier for bringing organic electronics and functional nanomaterials to the production line. In the lab researchers have created and demonstrated many promising materials, but it needs to be understood, how we can maintain or even improve critical materials properties such as electronic mobility, when moving on to coating and printing techniques. Among the critical steps are drying and post-annealing processes, as has been shown in a series of recent experiments at D1 [11-12]. Synchrotron radiation seems to be the ideal tool to study deposition of functional nanomaterials from liquid solution in-situ. I am excited about working with CBE students in the new sample environment laboratory at CHESS and at D-line, to develop and explore new sample environments that are scalable to industrial production processes."