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Tailor-made corrective optics bundles x-rays more than ever before

Although X-ray radiation obeys the same optical laws as visible light, it is difficult to focus and deflect it because there are only a few materials from which suitable X-ray lenses and mirrors can be built. This is due to the wavelength of X-ray radiation, which is much smaller than visible light. As a result, very small form errors of the optics can have a disturbing effect. Thus, the production of such X-ray optics optics requires a much greater precision than in the optical wavelength range.

For X-ray optics, beryllium lenses are pressed with the aid of precision stamps -their shape errors are in the scale of a few hundred nanometers. For many applications these errors do not play any role. But if, however, small samples are to be heated with the x-ray laser, as much X-ray light as possible must hit a surface as samll as possible. The same holds true to some imaging techniques, which will be used to obtain detailed images of tiny samples.
According to the measured errors in the beryllium X-ray optics the team from the Technical University of Dresden, the Royal Technical University of Stockholm, the University of Hamburg, the Diamond Light Source, SLAC, DESY and the ultrafast optics group at the IAP fabricated a corrective lens made of fused silica using precise ablation by ultrashort laser pulses. These "spectacles" have been tested at the X-ray laser LCLS at the US research center SLAC in California.
It was found that the custom-made correction lens eliminates almost completely the inevitable errors of the standard X-ray optics. This allows to concentrates three quarters of the X-ray beam onto a tiny spot of around 250 nm (millionths of a millimeter). Due to the corrective glasses the theoretically feasible focusing limit is almost obtained. The highly concentrated X-ray beam can not only improve certain investigations, but also open up novel research possibilities.
The researchers published their results in "Nature Communications".

Original publication:

Frank Seiboth et al.; Perfect X-ray focusing via fitting corrective glasses to aberrated optics; "Nature Communications", 2017; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14623

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News from: 02.03.2017 14:52
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