Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

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

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Organic crystals allow creating flexible electronic devices: The researchers from the Faculty of Physics of the Moscow State University have grown organic crystals that allow creating flexible electronic devices February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Discoveries

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Joint Efforts by Iranian, Malaysian Scientists Produce Antibacterial Coatings for Isolated Areas February 4th, 2016

Announcements

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Organic crystals allow creating flexible electronic devices: The researchers from the Faculty of Physics of the Moscow State University have grown organic crystals that allow creating flexible electronic devices February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Tools

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Cornell researchers create first self-assembled superconductor February 1st, 2016

New record in nanoelectronics at ultralow temperatures January 28th, 2016

LC.300 Series Nanopositioning Controller from nPoint January 28th, 2016

Aerospace/Space

Researchers develop completely new kind of polymer: Hybrid polymers could lead to new concepts in self-repairing materials, drug delivery and artificial muscles January 30th, 2016

Scientists build a neural network using plastic memristors: A group of Russian and Italian scientists have created a neural network based on polymeric memristors -- devices that can potentially be used to build fundamentally new computers January 28th, 2016

Deep Space Industries teams with UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory to demonstrate autonomous spacecraft maneuvering: SFL and DSI demonstrate enabling technology for low-cost asteroid missions and constellations January 25th, 2016

Graphene composite may keep wings ice-free: Rice University develops conductive material to heat surfaces, simplify ice removal January 25th, 2016

Events/Classes

Nanotech Security to Present at the Optical Document Security Conference February 11, 2016 February 4th, 2016

New research uses nanotechnology to prevent preterm birth: March of Dimes honors abstract on prematurity at SMFM Annual Meeting February 2nd, 2016

NBC LEARN DEBUTS SIX-PART VIDEO SERIES, “NANOTECHNOLOGY: SUPER SMALL SCIENCE” Produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the National Science Foundation, and narrated by NBC News/MSNBC’s Kate Snow, series highlights leading research in nanotechnology January 25th, 2016

Leti to Host Workshop on New Photonics Applications During SPIE Photonics West: Researchers also Will Present Four Invited Papers At Feb. 13-18 Conference, 14 Papers, Overall January 25th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic