A team of researchers led by Andrea Amorese from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids (Dresden, Germany) carried out experiments on α-manganese sulfide (α-MnS), a rock salt type antiferromagnetic insulator, at the NIXS end station of the P01 beam line at PETRA III (DESY). In the experiment, incident photons from the X-ray beam were inelastically scattered with inner electrons of α-MnS. Photons would exit the sample with slightly altered energies, relating to the energy levels in the material, and altered momentum, relating to the shape of the orbitals. Using Bragg reflection on 12 silicon crystal analyzers, photons of a distinct energy (9.7 keV) were directed onto a LAMBDA 60k detector. The setup used a prototype with Hydra design and an external trigger input. “The X-ray Raman Spectrometer and sample environment yield little space for a detector. With the Hydra system, we can fit in a detector with all features of a LAMBDA system“, explains Martin Sundermann, co-author of the study. “In addition to its noise-free single-photon-counting capability for measuring weak signals, the small pixel size allows us to separate the signals of individual crystal analyzers, as well as the sample and its environment.” The measurements were performed at different angles and for different orientations of the sample, so that the researchers ended up with scans of two crystal planes, allowing them to retrieve 3D images of the α-MnS crystal orbitals.