Several natural and artificial materials exhibit structural, organic and inorganic organization, in multiple length scales, distributed hierarchically, giving them emergent physical-chemical properties besides those observed in each of their components. The emergence of such properties depends both on the atomic and molecular organization at the lowest structural levels, of micro and nanoparticles, and on the organization and correlations between the various higher hierarchical levels. Some characteristic examples are soils, catalysts, batteries and solar cells. Understanding the effects of the hierarchical structure can guide the synthesis of new materials with physical properties that are adapted for specific applications.
With the advancement of synchrotron light science, it is now possible to combine different types of experiments, correlatively, on multiple length scales. The Heterogeneous and Hierarchical Matter Division develops and operates experimental stations and support laboratories that allow the characterization of heterogeneous and hierarchical matter from its local chemical order, with X-ray absorption spectroscopy on the QUATI beamline and medium and long range structural atomic organization, using high energy X-ray scattering and diffraction techniques on the JATOBÁ and PAINEIRA beamlines, to the structure and composition of micro and nanoparticles, with a resolution of a few nanometers on the CARNAÚBA beamline, reaching the three-dimensional micro and nano structure of samples of several centimeters, by high energy X-ray tomography on the MOGNO beamline.