Wet Sample Holder for Synchrotron-Based X-ray Microscopy

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luxel Corporation
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Researchers using beam lines at the Nation¿s synchrotron light sources require specimen holders that can control the sample environment, in order to investigate materials in their natural state and under controlled experimental conditions. Many materials are best studied in a wet or hydrated state, for example, cement, soil samples, and biological materials. However, no readily available wet sample holders ¿ which can control the sample volume, maximize throughput at the needed x-ray energies, and retain a hydrated sample for imaging sessions that last for several hours ¿ now exist. This project will develop a wet sample holder that can transmit soft x-ray energy up to 2.5 times better than commonly used alternatives. The wet cell will comprise two strong, ultrathin, x-ray-transparent membranes that form windows held a precise distance apart by a metal foil support structure. The support structure geometry will be designed to control sample volume and limit extraneous background scattering effects, while affording free rotation of the sample in the beam. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee The proposed sample holder should enable more efficient investigations in fields such as materials and environmental science, hazardous waste control, civil engineering, and life sciences. In addition to synchrotron-based x-ray microscopy, the technology should contribute to the applicability of laboratory-scale x-ray microscopes. These instruments should offer great commercial potential for the proposed sample holder, as they will become more numerous over the next decade, offering more widespread accessibility than synchrotron light sources.