Coherent X-Ray scanning microscopy at PETRA III reached 10 nm resolution (June 2012)


X-ray micrograph of a test pattern made of tantalum measured at PETRA III beamline P06. The smallest features have a size of 50 nm.

(top) X-ray scanning microscope at beamline P06 at PETRA III. (bottom) Ptychographic data acquisition: The sample is scanned
through the focused coherent X-ray beam. At each scanning position, a far- field di raction pattern is recorded.

A team of scientists from Technische Universität Dresden and DESY Photon Science recorded hard X-ray micrographs with a record spatial resolution of 10 nm, by using the hard X-ray scanning microscope at PETRA III nanoprobe beamline P06. These first measurements are paving the way to nondestructively image nanoscopic features inside of a specimen. Of special interest will be insights into the chemistry around nanoscopic catalyst particles used in a chemical reactor, buried structures inside of nano electronic devices, or specimens from earth, environmental, or biomedical science.

The authors showed that scanning coherent di ffraction microscopy, also known as ptychography, can overcome the limitations in spatial resolution imposed by X-ray optics in conventional X-ray microscopy. However, highest spatial resolution is achieved with the smallest nanobeams at the most brilliant X-ray sources. For radiation-hard samples, spatial resolutions of about one nanometer could be reached soon.

The results were published in: Appl. Phys. Lett. 100, 253112 (2012), DOI: 10.1063/1.4729942
A. Schropp et al. 'Hard x-ray scanning microscopy with coherent radiation: Beyond the resolution of conventional x-ray microscopes'.

(from authors)

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