Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > MIT team develops better X-ray nanomirrors: Nanotechnology will enhance future telescopes

Gratings used to manipulate X-rays for future space telescopes and other applications, like tiny miniaturized venetian blinds, were created using this interference lithography patterning tool, called the nanoruler, developed at MIT's Space Nanotechnology Laboratory. The colorful, diffracting wafer at center has a diameter of 12 inches. Photo / Ralf Heilmann
Gratings used to manipulate X-rays for future space telescopes and other applications, like tiny miniaturized venetian blinds, were created using this interference lithography patterning tool, called the nanoruler, developed at MIT's Space Nanotechnology Laboratory. The colorful, diffracting wafer at center has a diameter of 12 inches. Photo / Ralf Heilmann

Abstract:
A new way of bending X-ray beams developed by MIT researchers could lead to greatly improved space telescopes, as well as new tools for biology and for the manufacture of semiconductor chips.

MIT team develops better X-ray nanomirrors: Nanotechnology will enhance future telescopes

Cambridge, MA | Posted on June 10th, 2008

X-rays from space provide astronomers with important information about the most exotic events and objects in our universe, such as dark energy, black holes and neutron stars. But X-rays are notoriously difficult to collect and many interesting cosmic sources are faint, which makes collecting these high-energy rays difficult and time-consuming, even with telescopes on satellites far above our X-ray-absorbing atmosphere.

Now a group of researchers from MIT has fabricated a new, highly efficient nanoscale Venetian-blind-like device that contains thousands of ultrasmooth mirror slats per millimeter for use in future improved space-based X-ray telescopes. The so-called Critical-Angle Transmission (CAT) gratings feature dense arrays of tens-of-nanometer-thin, freely suspended silicon structures that serve as efficient mirrors for the reflection and diffraction of nanometer-wavelength light--otherwise known as X-rays.

New instrument designs based on these gratings could also lead to advances in fields beyond astrophysics, from plasma physics to the life and environmental sciences, as well as in extreme ultraviolet lithography, a technology of interest to the semiconductor industry. The concept behind CAT gratings might also open new avenues for devices in neutron optics and for the diffraction of electrons, atoms and molecules.

Based on an invention by Ralf Heilmann and Mark Schattenburg of the Space Nanotechnology Laboratory (SNL) at the MIT Kavli Institute of Astrophysics and Space Research, the daunting fabrication challenges were overcome by graduate student Minseung Ahn of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT in a yearlong effort, with the help of financial support from NASA and a Samsung Fellowship.

Motivated by technology goals for NASA's next-generation X-ray telescope, called Constellation-X, the new devices promise to improve more than five-fold upon the efficiency of the transmission gratings on board NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory (launched in 1999), which were also built at the Space Nanotechnology Lab. The reason for this improvement lies in the fact that in the new design, X-rays are reflected very efficiently at very shallow angles--akin to skipping stones on water--from the sub-nanometer-smooth sidewalls of the silicon slats, through the spaces between the slats. Also, in the earlier version the X-rays had to pass through a supporting substrate of polyimide, which absorbed many of the rays and reduced the grating's efficiency.

The silicon slats--as thin as 35 nanometers, which is comparable to the smallest feature sizes still under development in commercial computer chip manufacturing--are parallel to each other and separated by as little as about 150 nanometers. The slats have to extend many micrometers in the remaining two dimensions. "Imagine a thin, 40-foot-long, 8-foot-tall mirror, with surface roughness below a tenth of a millimeter," says Heilmann. "Then put tens of thousands of these mirrors next to each other, each spaced precisely an inch from the next. Now shrink the whole assembly--including the roughness--down by a factor of a million, and you have a good CAT grating."

Recent X-ray test results from a prototype device, obtained with the help of Eric Gullikson of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, confirmed that it met theoretical expectations. The results of this work will be published in Optics Express (Vol. 16, No. 12) on June 9. They were also presented at the 52nd Intl. Conference on Electron, Ion and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication in Portland, Ore., on May 28, and will be presented again at the SPIE Conference on Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation in Marseille, France, on June 23.

####

About MIT
The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Elizabeth A. Thomson
MIT News Office
Phone: 617-258-5402

Copyright © MIT

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Compact, Low Cost, Accurate: Mini Positioning Stages, by PI June 30th, 2015

NEI Announces the Issuance of Multiple Patents on Self-Healing & Superhydrophobic Coatings June 30th, 2015

Philips Introduces Quantum Dot TV with Color IQ™ Technology from QD Vision: Manufacturer is first to offer quantum dot displays for both TVs and monitors June 30th, 2015

Oxford Instruments’ TritonXL Cryofree dilution refrigerator selected for the Oxford NQIT Quantum Technology Hub project June 30th, 2015

Discoveries

Carnegie Mellon chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels: Methods will allow researchers to develop new 'smart' materials June 30th, 2015

Chitosan coated, chemotherapy packed nanoparticles may target cancer stem cells June 30th, 2015

Graphene flexes its electronic muscles: Rice-led researchers calculate electrical properties of carbon cones, other shapes June 30th, 2015

Researchers from the UCA, key players in a pioneering study that may explain the origin of several digestive diseases June 30th, 2015

Announcements

BASF and Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT jointly develop electronic materials June 30th, 2015

Graphene flexes its electronic muscles: Rice-led researchers calculate electrical properties of carbon cones, other shapes June 30th, 2015

Researchers from the UCA, key players in a pioneering study that may explain the origin of several digestive diseases June 30th, 2015

Oxford Instruments’ TritonXL Cryofree dilution refrigerator selected for the Oxford NQIT Quantum Technology Hub project June 30th, 2015

Tools

Compact, Low Cost, Accurate: Mini Positioning Stages, by PI June 30th, 2015

Carnegie Mellon chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels: Methods will allow researchers to develop new 'smart' materials June 30th, 2015

Oxford Instruments’ TritonXL Cryofree dilution refrigerator selected for the Oxford NQIT Quantum Technology Hub project June 30th, 2015

How Graphene–based Nanomaterials and Films Revolutionize Science Explained in July 9 Webinar Hosted by Park Systems June 29th, 2015

Aerospace/Space

Discovery paves way for new kinds of superconducting electronics June 22nd, 2015

Deben reports on how the University of Portsmouth use in situ µXCT compressive testing to help answer how materials respond to complex loading conditions June 17th, 2015

Slip sliding away: Graphene and diamonds prove a slippery combination June 10th, 2015

Ultrafast heat conduction can manipulate nanoscale magnets June 8th, 2015

Events/Classes

How Graphene–based Nanomaterials and Films Revolutionize Science Explained in July 9 Webinar Hosted by Park Systems June 29th, 2015

Graphene breakthrough as Bosch creates magnetic sensor 100 times more sensitive than silicon equivalent June 28th, 2015

Spain nanotechnology featured at NANO KOREA 2015 June 26th, 2015

Nanometrics to Participate in 7th Annual CEO Investor Summit 2015: Investor Event Held Concurrently With SEMICON West in San Francisco June 25th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project