Researchers at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) and the German laboratory Berliner Elektronenspeicherring-Gesellschaft fr Synchrotronstrahlung (BESSY) have crafted a technique to take X-ray images that reveal tiny variations and lightning-quick changes in materials a thousand times smaller than the thickness of a strand of hair.
Their work merited the cover of the Dec. 16 issue of Nature. The technique--lensless X-ray holography--will be valuable for researchers working with the world's first X-ray free electron laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), slated to begin experiments in 2009 at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC).
"We have demonstrated the first direct imaging technique that will work with LCLS, opening the door for taking pictures of ultra-fast changes in the collective behavior of ensembles of atoms and molecules," said SSRL physicist Jan Luening. He and BESSY colleague Stefan Eisebitt headed development of the technique.
"Our approach is simple and it can be applied to a wide variety of samples from thin films to small structures coming from material science, biology or chemistry," Luening said.
State-of-the-art light sources such as BESSY and SPEAR3 at SLAC achieve lensless imaging by filtering light so that the only remaining X-rays are "coherent"--that is, all the X-ray light waves are in phase with each other (each wave is peaking at the same time) and moving in the same direction like a marching band in step. Because it uses no lenses, the technique has the potential to take direct images with 10 times better spatial resolution than can be achieved with current X-ray lenses and bring even finer details into view. Another advantage to the technique is it entails much simpler alignment and sample handling than do established X-ray microscopy methods.
Lensless imaging will be especially powerful at LCLS and other future X-ray free electron lasers being planned in Germany and othePage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Neil Calder
DOE/Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
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