Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A New X-Ray Microscope for Nanoscale Imaging


Delivering the capability to image nanostructures and chemical reactions down to nanometer resolution requires a new class of x-ray microscope that can perform precision microscopy experiments using ultra-bright x-rays from the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

This groundbreaking instrument, designed to deliver a suite of unprecedented x-ray imaging capabilities for the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN) beamline, brings researchers one step closer to the ultimate goal of nanometer resolution at NSLS-II, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility.

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Multi-layer Laue lens module inside the vacuum chamber of the microscope installed at the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe beamline at NSLS-II.

The microscope manipulates novel nanofocusing optics called multilayer Laue lenses (MLL) — incredibly precise lenses grown one atomic layer at a time — which produce a tiny x-ray beam that is currently about 10 nanometers in size. Focusing an x-ray beam to that level means being able to see the structures on that length scale, whether they are proteins in a biological sample, or the inner workings of a fuel cell catalyst.

The team of scientists who built this microscope aren’t stopping there; they are working toward making the focused x-ray beam spot even smaller in the future. The microscope they developed produces x-ray images by scanning a sample while collecting various x-ray signals emerging from the sample.

Analysis of these signals helps researchers understand crucial information about the materials they are examining: density, elemental composition, chemical state, and the crystalline structure of the sample.

Getting a clear image at this scale requires extremely high stability of the microscope to minimize vibrations and to reduce possible thermal drifts, changes in the microscope due to heat. It requires over twenty piezo motors — very fine motors that produce motion when electric currents are fed into piezo crystals — controlled down to nanometer-scale precision, crammed into a tight space about the size of a coffee maker, to meet its functionalities.

“This instrument incorporates most recent developments in interferometric sensing, nanoscale motion, and position control. Recorded drifts of two nanometers per hour are unprecedented and set a new benchmark for x-ray microscopy systems,” said Evgeny Nazaretski, a physicist at NSLS-II who spearheaded the development of the microscope.

After construction, the MLL module, a key component of the HXN x-ray microscope, was tested at the Diamond Light Source Beamline I-13L for extensive x-ray performance measurements. These measurements confirmed the stability and reliability of the new MLL system. Results are being published in the March issue of the Journal of Synchrotron Radiation.

Hanfei Yan, a co-author of the paper, added, “We are grateful to our collaborators from Argonne National Laboratory who shared their technical expertise from the beginning of this project and also to collaborators from the Diamond Light Source who wholeheartedly supported the x-ray experiments.”

“This instrument is a critical link connecting NSLS-II’s bright x-rays to unprecedented nanoscale x-ray imaging capabilities, which we believe will lead to many groundbreaking scientific discoveries”, stressed Yong Chu, the Group Leader of the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe Beamline at NSLS-II. The HXN beamline and the HXN x-ray microscope are currently being commissioned and will be available for user experiments later this year.

This work is published in the Journal of Synchrotron Radiation.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

Contact Information
Chelsea Whyte
Public Affairs Representative
Phone: 6313448671

Chelsea Whyte | newswise
Further information:

Further reports about: Brookhaven Diamond Energy MLL Microscope Science Synchrotron beamline experiments measurements nanoscale sample

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1
21.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Hochfrequenzphysik und Radartechnik FHR

nachricht Taming chaos: Calculating probability in complex systems
21.03.2018 | American Institute of Physics

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>