Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Pushing X-rays to the Edge to Draw the Nanoworld into Focus: A new x-ray imaging technique yields unprecedented measurements of nanoscale structures

This rendering shows the high-intensity x-ray beam striking and then traveling through the gray sample material. In this new technique, the x-ray scattering—the blue and white ripples—is considerably less distorted than in other methods, producing superior images with less complex analysis.
This rendering shows the high-intensity x-ray beam striking and then traveling through the gray sample material. In this new technique, the x-ray scattering—the blue and white ripples—is considerably less distorted than in other methods, producing superior images with less complex analysis.

Abstract:
Photographers rely on precision lenses to generate well-focused and crystal-clear images. These high-quality optics—readily available and produced in huge quantities—are often taken for granted. But as scientists explore the details of materials spanning just billionths of a meter, engineering the nanoscale equivalent of a camera lens becomes notoriously difficult.

Pushing X-rays to the Edge to Draw the Nanoworld into Focus: A new x-ray imaging technique yields unprecedented measurements of nanoscale structures

Upton, NY | Posted on March 11th, 2013

Instead of working with polished glass, physicists must use ingenious tricks, including shooting concentrated beams of x-rays directly into materials. These samples then act as light-bending lenses, and the x-ray deflections can be used to deduce the material's nanostructures. Unfortunately, the multilayered internal structures of real materials bend light in extremely complex and unexpected ways. When scientists grapple with this kind of warped imagery, they use elaborate computer calculations to correct for the optical obstacles found on the nanoscale and create detailed visual models.

Now, owing to a happy accident and subsequent insight, researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new and strikingly simple x-ray scattering technique—detailed in the February issue of the Journal of Applied Crystallography—to help draw nanomaterials ranging from catalysts to proteins into greater focus.

"During an experiment, we noticed that one of the samples was misaligned," said physicist Kevin Yager, a coauthor on the new study. "Our x-ray beam was hitting the edge, not the center as is typically desired. But when we saw how clean and undistorted the data was, we immediately realized that this could be a huge advantage in measuring nanostructures."

This serendipitous discovery at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) led to the development of a breakthrough imaging technique called Grazing-Transmission Small Angle X-ray Scattering (GTSAXS). The new method requires considerably less correction and a much simpler analysis, resulting in superior images with profound implications for future advances in materials science.

"Conventional scattering produces images that are 'distorted'—the data you want is there, but it's stretched, compressed, and multiply scattered in complicated ways as the x-rays enter and exit the sample," said physicist and coauthor Ben Ocko. "Our insight was that undistorted scattering rays were emitted inside the sample—but they usually get absorbed as they travel through the substrate. By moving the sample and beam near the edge of the substrate, we allow this undistorted scattering to escape and reach the detector."

The Brookhaven Lab collaboration was not the first group to encounter the diffraction that occurs along a material's edge, but it was the first to reconsider and harness the unexpected error.

"Until now, no one bothered to dig into the details, and figure out how to use it as a measurement technique, rather than as a misalignment to be corrected," added Xinhui Lu, the lead author of the study.

GTSAXS, like other scattering techniques, offers a complement to other imaging processes because it can measure the average structure throughout a sample, rather than just pinpointing selected areas. Scattering also offers an ideal method for the real-time studies of nanoscale changes and reactions such as the propagation of water through soft nanomaterials.

"This technique is broadly applicable to any nanostructure sitting on a flat substrate," said study coauthor Chuck Black. "Lithographic patterns, catalytic nanoparticles, self-assembled polymers, etc.—they can all be studied. This technique should be particularly powerful for very thin films with complicated three-dimensional structures, which to date have been difficult to study."

Brookhaven's NSLS supplies the intense x-ray beams essential to this technique, which requires extremely short wavelengths to interact with nanoscale materials. At NSLS, accelerated electrons emit these high-energy photons, which are then channeled down a beamline and focused to precisely strike the target material. When the next generation light source, NSLS-II, opens in 2014, GTSAXS will offer even greater experimental potential.

"We look forward to implementing this technique at NSLS-II," Yager said, with Ocko adding: "The excellent beam focusing should enable us to probe the near-edge region more effectively, making GTSAXS even more robust."

The research was funded by the DOE's Office of Science and conducted at both NSLS and Brookhaven Lab's Center for Functional Nanomaterials — the Office of Science supports both of these leading facilities.

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

####

About Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory is a multipurpose research institution funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Located on Long Island, NY, Brookhaven operates large-scale facilities for studies in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, applied science, and advanced technology. The Laboratory's almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Justin Eure

Copyright © Brookhaven National Laboratory

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

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Imaging

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Cambridge Nanotherm partners with Inabata for global sales and distribution June 20th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Launches 7nm ASIC Platform for Data Center, Machine Learning, and 5G Networks FX-7TM offering leverages the company’s 7nm: FinFET process to deliver best in class IP and Solutions June 13th, 2017

The Zeiss Global Centre in the School of Engineering at the University of Portsmouth uses Deben µXCT stages to characterise the structural competence of biological structures June 13th, 2017

Laboratories

Alloying materials of different structures offers new tool for controlling properties June 19th, 2017

Development of low-dimensional nanomaterials could revolutionize future technologies June 15th, 2017

NREL’s Advanced Atomic Layer Deposition Enables Lithium-Ion Battery Technology: May 10th, 2017

Physics

In atomic propellers, quantum phenomena can mimic everyday physics June 1st, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Self Assembly

Oddball enzyme provides easy path to synthetic biomaterials May 17th, 2017

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Nanocages for gold particles: what is happening inside? March 16th, 2017

Most Complex Nanoparticle Crystal Ever Made by Design: Possible applications include controlling light, capturing pollutants, delivering therapeutics March 2nd, 2017

Discoveries

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Alloying materials of different structures offers new tool for controlling properties June 19th, 2017

Smart materials used in ultrasound behave similar to water, Penn chemists report June 16th, 2017

Development of low-dimensional nanomaterials could revolutionize future technologies June 15th, 2017

Announcements

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Tools

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Oxford Instruments congratulates Lancaster University for inaugurating the IsoLab, built for studying quantum systems June 20th, 2017

Changing the color of laser light on the femtosecond time scale: How BiCoO3 achieves second harmonic generation June 14th, 2017

Leti Announces Two New Tools for Improving Transportation Comfort, Safety and Efficiency: Wearable Device Measures Stress Responses for Travelers, Pilots and Truck Drivers, While Smartphone App Provides Transit Agencies Broad Data on Transport Modes June 13th, 2017

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