X-ray microscopy requires radiation of extremely high quality. In order to obtain sharp images instrument and sample must stay absolutely immobile even at the nanometer scale during the recording.
Experimental setup: The test object is moved with nanometer precision through the X-ray beam. The scattered X-rays are captured by a detector. The scattering images are then reconstructed to an image of the sample.
Researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen (Switzerland), have now developed a method that relaxes these hard restrictions. Even fluctuations in the material can be visualized. The renowned journal Nature now reports on their results.For more than 100 years radiography meant: don’t move! In order to visualize nanostructures such as biological cells, the porous structure of cement or storage fields of magnetic disks, the experimentators had to avoid any kind of vibration of X-ray microscope and sample. In addition, only a small percentage fraction of the incoming X-ray radiation could be used. Using special filters, they had to select exactly the fraction with the right properties – for example, the right wavelength.
Nature, 7. February 2013, DOI: 10.1038/nature11806
Contact:Dr. Pierre Thibault
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