Novel Soft X-ray Imaging Microscope Diffraction Plate

Period of Performance: 09/01/1991 - 03/31/1992


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Princeton X-ray Laser, Inc.
1-H Deer Park Drive
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852
Principal Investigator


A new idea in x-ray optics could improve the flux through an imaging soft x-ray microscope by an order of magnitude. Such a significant improvement would be particularly important in developing a small scale, Commercial x- ray microscope for use in laboratories alongside existing equipment. The device, a soft x-ray diffraction plate, would also eliminate costly, difficult to fabricate condenser optics and reduce alignment constraints. Detailed mathematical models of the diffraction plate will be developed using analytical and computer techniques. These will be used to decide which of several methods of manufacture will produce the best diffraction plates by comparing the data obtained with the 18.2 nm lasers at Princeton's Plasma Physical Laboratory with theory. On the basis of these tests, a soft x-ray imaging microscope will be designed incorporating a diffraction plate, ready for construction in Phase II. Such an instrument would enable promising work on imaging hydrated biological specimens at 50 nm resolution currently being done at synchrotrons to be transferred to the university laboratory environment - were it is expected to yield significant insights into the microstructure of hydrated, unstained cells.