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Scientists Discover New X-Ray Optics With Record Resolutions

Scientists Discover New X-Ray Optics With Record Resolutions
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A revolutionary discovery was just made in the scientific community thanks to the development of new novel lenses that work with X-ray microscopy with record-breaking resolution.


According to PHYS.org, scientists at DESY have developed novel lenses to help identify previously unseeable details in the nanometre regime. The research team, led by DESY scientist Sasa Bajt, from the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL), can now use a 5,000-fold magnification with the new lenses and achieve a focus spot size with a diameter of less than 10 nanometers. A nanometre is a millionth of a millimeter and is smaller than the majority of virus particles.


The work was published in the journal Light: Science and Applications and featured highly microscopic views of marine plankton.


“We produced the world’s smallest X-ray focus using high efficiency lenses,” said Bajt. “The selection of the right material pair was critical for the success. It does not exclude other material combinations but it is definitely the best we know now.”


In order to focus X-ray beams in the vertical and horizontal direction, it would have to pass through two oriented lenses. By using these new novel lenses, with a spot size of 8.4 nanometers by 6.8 nanometers, scientists can now achieve resolutions roughly five times better than typical state-of-the-art lenses.


The new lenses consist of over 10,000 alternating layers of a new combination of materials including tungsten carbide, which has a Moh’s hardness scale between 8.5 and 9 (falling right behind diamonds).


The entire tungsten market has been on the rise as of late because of new developments like these revolutionary lenses. In addition to new scientific uses, tungsten is able to be easily scrapped and repurposed for various industries; its recycling power has resulted in global success.


The researchers hope that these new X-ray optic lenses will lead to additional scientific breakthroughs.