A New Paradigm for X-ray Optics Nanopositioning

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Royston Engineering Research Llc
1025 West Vernon Park Place, Unit A
Chicago, IL 60607
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Avenue
Lemont, IL 60439


High resolution X-ray microscopy using synchrotron radiation is a key scientific technique in materials research that has provided insight into the atomic structure of bulk materials, surfaces, interfaces, nanoparticles, nanostructures, and nanodomains. Such detailed understanding into the characterization and behavior of matter allows scientists and engineers to design materials with longer fatigue lives, higher strengths, and better wear characteristics. A better understanding of materials results in more efficient use of those materials: more effective materials usage in automobile manufacture, more capable semiconductor devices for the IT revolution, and more efficient catalysts for fuel cells, for example. DOE synchrotrons serve a user community of academic, government, and industrial users. The Advanced Photon Source alone serves over 5000 scientists. At these facilities, the need for nanometer resolution X-ray microscopes continues to grow, as does the desire for higher resolution probes. While novel X-ray optics are being developed that will be able to focus an X-ray beam to nanometer spot sizes, state of the art positioning systems are not capable of the corresponding subnanometer resolution necessary to position the optics or samples to take advantage of this. We are addressing this need by developing an X-ray optic positioning system with subnanometer resolution. This problem will be addressed by developing a positioning system built around a novel type of parallel kinematics, multi-axis flexure based stage a flexapod , interferometric sensing, and advanced controls. Phase I will establish feasibility of our approach for a three degree of freedom flexapod system. Phase II will culminate with a prototype six degree of freedom flexapod positioning system capable of subnanometer translational motion resolution and 10 nanoradian angular resolution. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Material scientists and other X-ray microscope users of synchrotron radiation facilities will benefit from the development of our novel, multi-axis, flexure-based nanopositioning system. We see the primary beneficiaries of this new device to be the beamline scientists for the X-ray microscopy beamlines at US synchrotrons (APS, NSLS, ALS, and SSRL), who are conducting R & amp;D on behalf of numerous academic institutions, government agencies, and private industries spanning from materials science through the life sciences to engineering research. At APS alone, there are about 150 industrial users. In addition, our new positioning system with subnanometer resolution will enable these scientists to move towards answering the DOEs five grand challenges.