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X-ray microscopy

The small wavelength of X-rays enables microscopy with extremely high resolution. In modern X-ray microscopes the lateral resolution is limited by the objective optics and not by the wavelength and values of about 20 nm have been achieved. Furthermore the high penetration depth of X-rays  as compared to for example electrons renders investigations of µm-sized objects feasible.

In a cooperation with the group of Prof. Dr. Thomas Wilhein, Hochschule Koblenz, Campus Remagen, and Dr. Jens Viefhaus, HASYLAB, DESY, a system for microscopic imaging with lateral resolutions better than 30 nm is being developed. The instrument will have a full field and scanning opportunities, will enable spectromicroscopy and tomography and will allow for the measurement of cryo-fixated specimen. The novelty is that all modi can be combined for the analysis of a specimen. The system is planned to be utilized at the beamline P04 at the synchrotron facility PETRA III and the beamline BL3 at FLASH. The project part of the TU involves the design and realization of the scanning soft X-ray fluorescence modus, the integration of the different imaging data and the development of the cryo-environment.

Furthermore we are operating together with the Max-Born-Institut a prototype of a water window laboratory X-ray microscope based on a laser produced plasma source. This microscope operates in the water window where the natural contrast between biological matter and aqueous environment is maximal, making it ideally suited for the investigation of carbon containing structures in wet or frozen samples.

Point of contact: Lars Lühl (PETRAIII microscope), Christian Seim (laboratory microscope), Holger Stiel (laboratory microscope)


Relevant publications:

H. Legall et al., Opt Express. 2012 Jul 30;20(16):18362-9

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