Sigray, Inc. is pleased to announce the first demonstration of an axially symmetric x-ray optic with low submicron focusing (400 nanometer line-pair separation and ~700 nanometer FWHM) and high flux and flux density. The landmark achievement has been the result of intense research and development over the past 3 years, funded with internal funds and supported by major small business innovation in research (SBIR) grants from the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.
Development of an axially symmetric achromatic optic with sub-micrometer resolution and large optical aperture has long been a dream for scientists and engineers for developing micro/nano-beam applications. Axial symmetry (symmetry along an axis, such as cylinders) are by far the dominant approach for almost all types of optics except for x-rays. The inherently large numerical aperture (NA) and large optical aperture of axially symmetric x-ray mirrors not only provides intense x-ray flux, but also harbors tremendous potential, as they theoretically could enable optics with low single-digit nanometer focusing. However, due to the tight tolerance of precise surface profiles and challenging surface smoothness, achieving a high performance axially symmetric optic with submicron focus has long been deemed a near-impossible dream.
Sigray has made groundbreaking developments to its proprietary ultraprecise shaping technique that fabricates optics with slope errors of less than 5urad and surface roughness on the order of Angstroms. Using this process, several optics with varying parameters were developed and tested at synchrotron light sources. Experimental demonstrations, performed in collaboration with scientists from the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and NSLS II at Brookhaven National Laboratory verified a <800 nanometer FWHM spot, which could resolve 400 nanometer lines and spaces using resolution target standards.
A publication on these results is being prepared with the collaborating scientists from the national laboratories. Additionally, follow-up extensive systematic characterization of the focusing properties is being planned in collaboration with the Experimental Systems Group of the ALS.
This achievement represents a major milestone in x-ray optic technology development. Future improvements to this high flux optic are being made to reach even higher resolution and to optimize performance across a variety of applications, including soft x-ray focusing. Previous generations of the optics design have already been adopted by several leading instrumentation researchers in the USA and Asia for developing new laboratory and synchrotron systems.
Sigray gratefully acknowledges its collaborators at the Advanced Light Source (Drs. Howard Padmore, Alastair MacDowell, and Jun Feng) and Brookhaven National Laboratory (Drs. Juergen Thieme and Garth William).