Microscopy in extreme ultraviolet and soft X-ray spectral regions

Microscopy in extreme ultraviolet and soft X-ray spectral regions

  • Principal Investigator: Cpt. Dr. Eng. Przemysław Wachulak, Military University of Technology
  • Project title: Microscopy in extreme ultraviolet and soft X-ray spectral regions
  • Funding scheme: SONATA 2, announced on 15th September 2011
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Imaging with high spatial resolution is crucial to the development of nanotechnology. The manipulation of matter at nanometer scale and the ability to later or "in situ" verify the results of this manipulation are very important these days. The direction of the development of science and technology is determined by the semiconductor industry in pursuing smaller and smaller structures which are more efficient and consume less electricity. These computer industry efforts have benefits for other areas of science such as biology or materials science. The world seems to be quite simple and familiar to us, until one delves deeper, using imaging tools with increasingly higher magnification to understand the basics of its operation. It often transpires that its governing processes are neither always easy nor always predictable. This, in turn, leads to new discoveries and a whole new field of science. It is particularly evident in biology, where cells, formerly regarded as the basic building blocks of life, are today virtually whole "energy factories" within a complex organism. They themselves are made up of a large number of even smaller biological structures.

Photons, as we know, are quanta of energy, and can be characterised by a parameter called wavelength. Photons of short wavelength, approximately 100 times less than the photons that are visible by the naked eye, are often generated using synchrotron and free electron lasers. These are, however, large-scale installations and remain expensive to maintain which unfortunately prevents direct transfer of the technology to industry and everyday life.

 The project entitled: "Microscopy in extreme ultraviolet and soft X-ray spectral regions", is based on research related to the design, implementation, testing and optimisation of compact experimental systems for imaging with sub-micron spatial resolution and nanosecond time resolution. These unique experimental systems can be used in the near future to visualise nanostructures, nanomaterial samples and answer some key questions from different fields of science, such as biology, nanotechnology and materials science.

In the frame of this project we plan to conduct extensive fundamental research related to the evaluation of both spatial resolution and time resolution, as well as study the impact of various parasitic factors on image quality. The long-term goal of the project is also to encourage researchers from other disciplines to make use of these new, unique and compact tools. Results of the project will enable the development of compact, laboratory systems for imaging with high spatial and temporal resolution for potential applications in various fields of science and technology. Moreover, the project will also help to broaden our knowledge and experience in different fields of science.

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Cpt. Dr. Eng. Przemysław Wachulak

Researches and develops various imaging methods with high spatial resolution, using radiation with a wavelength in the range of 1-50nm. His interests are related to microscopy projects in extreme ultraviolet and soft X-ray spectral regions, funded by the Foundation for Polish Science and NCN. He also takes part in the international project on time-resolved Fourier transform holography, funded by HDTRA, USA.


Date of publication: 24th Jul, 2012