Hard x-ray waveguides can be strongly curved

Nov. 11, 2015
Waveguide channels x-rays via grazing-incidence reflection.

Hard x-rays are used for imaging at the nanometer scalefor example, imaging cells. However, optically routing hard x-rays traditionally requires very large (up to meter-length) bulk optics operating at grazing-incidence angles. Now, as noted by the American Physical Society's Physics Focus, an international team led by researchers at the University of Göttingen (Göttingen, Germany) have created 100-nm-wide waveguides that can bend a hard x-ray beam by up to 30° over a 5 mm distance.1

The waveguide is a narrow, open channel cut into a solid piece of tantalum, with the beam propagating via grazing incidence along the channel, with a critical angle of total reflection of 1°.

To maximize x-ray throughput, the team used intense beams generated at the DESY synchrotron facility in Hamburg, Germany, and, in a second test, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France. They focused the beams to a width of a few hundred nanometers at the entrances of the waveguides.

This new work "changes x-ray optics from fairly [large-scale] devices to miniature devices, with all the attendant advantages," says Sunil Sinha of the University of California, San Diego.

Source: http://physics.aps.org/articles/v8/107


1. T. Salditt et al., Physical Review Letters (2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.203902

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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