Advanced Photon Source commissions “Velociprobe” for faster, higher-resolution X-ray microscopy

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High-brightness X-rays from synchrotron light sources like a Advanced Photon Source (APS) during a U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are an useful apparatus to investigate a structure and duty of materials, from proteins that means illness to metals that store electricity in batteries. In many cases, a smaller, brighter lamp can open adult a new universe of systematic discovery.

The Velociprobe group during a Advanced Photon Source includes (from left to right): Zhonghou Cai, Curt Preissner (in back), Junjing Deng, Christian Roehrig and Tamjid Sheikh Mashrafi. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)

That’s since teams of scientists and engineers during a APS, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, are formulation for a APS Upgrade, that will broach X-rays that are 100 times brighter than those offering by today’s APS.

“It’s unequivocally sparkling to be meditative about new apparatus that will concede transformational scholarship holding full advantage of a insubordinate properties of a APS Upgrade, …” — Stefan Vogt, Associate Division Director for Beamline Operations in a X-ray Science division 

Long-lead procurements for technical components for a APS Upgrade are now underway, and Argonne is also focusing on a systematic and engineering hurdles that arise from a capabilities a new appurtenance will provide, in a form of X-ray beams 100 billion times brighter than a standard X-ray appurtenance from a doctor’s office.

To residence these hurdles and opportunities, final year Argonne consecrated a “Velociprobe,” a new scanning apparatus to try a boundary of fast, high-resolution X-ray microscopy. The instrument, that will be used during a APS before a Upgrade is completed, was built underneath a Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.

“The APS beams will be so most brighter that, if we were to try to use a scanning collection that are out there today, we’d have to draw or relieve a liughtness of a beam, that defeats a point,” pronounced a Velociprobe designer, automatic operative Curt Preissner of a Argonne X-ray Science division.

How it works

The Velociprobe instrument is designed with 5 core elements: vast slab blocks, a mobile lens, a representation of interest, a laser complement and a detector.

The lens focuses incoming X-rays on a sample, that can be biological or nonbiological. The lamp will separate as it passes by a sample, formulating a diffraction settlement that will afterwards be prisoner by a detector. All a while, visual lasers will broadcast information about a relations position of a lens and a sample. The slab blocks yield thermal and automatic stability, to boost a correctness of a measurements.

Then, researchers will use worldly program algorithms to investigate a diffraction information and positional information to refurbish a 2-D structure of a sample, overcoming fortitude stipulations traditionally imposed by imaging optics.

With components that yield improved stability, speed and some-more accurate measurements, a Velociprobe is designed to grasp a aloft spatial fortitude during high speed than identical instruments. With stream required methods, spatial resolution, that describes how good one can heed dual graphic points that are comparatively tighten together, is singular by a distance of a incoming X-ray lamp on a sample.

“This means that if we have a 1-micron beam, a best fortitude we can get is 1 micron. So if we have a representation with facilities smaller than 1 micron, we won’t be means to solve them,” pronounced Junjing Deng, an APS physicist concerned in a project. “The Velociprobe will not have this limitation.”


The Velociprobe is means of scanning samples faster than other tough X-ray scanning collection since a lens it uses is designed to pierce behind and onward rapidly, causing a X-ray lamp to “walk” opposite specific regions of a sample. The process, famous as fly-scanning, is faster than step-scanning, a normal proceed used with other scanning instruments. In a step-scanning method, a microscope works in a move-settle-measure method during any indicate point, so a lot of time is squandered in a engine suit and settling.

“Because a lens has a reduce mass than a sample, relocating a lens rather than a representation lets we pierce most some-more quickly, that is what helps to raise a speed of scanning,” pronounced Chris Roehrig, an electronic operative in a X-ray Science multiplication who leads a project. “And while you’re relocating a lamp all a approach opposite a representation in one motion, we have wiring that are ceaselessly appropriation information in a detector.”

With normal methods, a time it takes to indicate vast representation areas or indicate many opposite angles of a representation can be hours or even days. But a Velociprobe can indicate an area most faster than other tough X-ray instruments. The initial idea of a devise was to indicate a 1-micrometer by 1-micrometer area in reduction than 10 seconds. The Velociprobe opening distant exceeded a goal, scanning a 4-micrometer by 4-micrometer area in 2.1 seconds, that was 75 times faster than a goal.


The Velociprobe will have multidisciplinary applications, from biology to chemistry to appetite storage materials.

Later this year, researchers devise to use a Velociprobe to inspect a bulb of mechanism microchips, to demeanour for differences between pattern specifications and tangible prolongation pieces. This information could potentially be used to detect long-term trustworthiness problems, or probable astonishing circuitry.

“In general, these chips are comparatively vast and thick and, with today’s capabilities, could take weeks or even months to scan, depending on a size,” Roehrig said. “We’re perplexing to speed things adult utterly a bit with these projects by looking brazen to a APS Upgrade and building orchestration that can concede us to take advantage of that Upgrade to get scanning speeds approach down to reasonable levels.”

In fact, a group is now rebuilding a Velociprobe to serve urge a speed for scanning “large” samples such as mechanism chips. And going forward, a ideas and skill behind a Velociprobe will be used to directly feed in to rise even improved scanning inclination and interrelated tools, pronounced Stefan Vogt, principal questioner on a devise and Associate Division Director for Beamline Operations in a X-ray Science division.

“It’s unequivocally sparkling to be meditative about new apparatus that will concede transformational scholarship holding full advantage of a insubordinate properties of a APS Upgrade, and a Velociprobe is one of a initial glorious examples of this new equipment,” Vogt said. “Of course, there is a combined advantage that even yet this was designed with a Upgrade in mind, we will be means to use it now, before a Upgrade, to expostulate systematic results.”

Source: ANL

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