Integrating High Performance Optics and Sample Manipulation for Extended Range X-ray PDF Measurements

Period of Performance: 02/22/2016 - 11/21/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

13213 Locksley Ln Array
Silver Spring, MD 20904
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Recent advances in the generation and focusing of synchrotron x-ray beams enable new types of measurements. Pending upgrades to Advanced Photon Source (APS-U) in the US, SPring8 in Japan and ESRF in Europe and commissioning of NSLS-II will provide unprecedented x-ray flux density. In combination with these developments in sources, modern detector technologies and extreme sample environments enable important new research with a high scientific and commercial impact. There is a need to seamlessly combine small and wide angle x-ray scattering methods to understand nanostructure and structural evolution in materials. This approach can revolutionize the way that x-ray data can be analyzed to study large structures in real space. Sample holders and containers severely limit the ability to study materials by nucleating crystals and interfering with the scattered x-ray signal. Materials Development will combine advanced x-ray optics, a novel detector geometry and aerodynamic levitation to achieve completely contact-free processing of samples and generation of data over a Q range from 0.03-20 Å-1. This approach will access pristine materials and avoid contributions from sample holders to the measured signal and provide a pair distribution function over a wide length scale range. During the Phase I R&D Materials Development will validate the proposed solution and design an optimized system. The main technical objectives of the Phase I research will be to: (i) investigate processing using the aerodynamic levitator, (ii) investigate hardware and software for combining small and wide angle detector technologies on a high energy beamline, (iii) evaluate requirements for incident beam optics, flight path and beam stops, (iv) evaluate requirements for an integrated system that will be developed during the Phase II research, and (v) present and/or publish results. Successful demonstration of the proposed technology in Phase I will lead to development of a commercial capability for synchrotron-enabled research on materials during the Phase II R&D. The proposed project will advance the application of x-rays to solving important energy-related and industrial problems in materials. These include developing enabling materials for advanced fuel, nuclear, photonic and aerospace products. Commercial Applications/Benefits: The product of this R&D will be an x-ray facility sample environment/detector instrument that will be marketed by direct interaction with customers. The proposed system has immediate applications in synchrotron facilities such as APS, NSLS- II, ESRF, SPring-8 and many other smaller synchrotrons. The sample environment capability has important commercial applications in basic and applied materials research. Prior sales of extreme environment instruments is several M$.