Transmission X-ray Microscopy Wizards Trained at SSRL

July 14, 2011

On Monday, July 11, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource Postdoctoral Researcher Yijin Liu and Visiting Scientist Florian Meirer of Fondazione Bruno Kessler led a transmission X-ray microscope "Wizard Workshop" at SSRL. In the half-day meeting, Meirer and Liu presented software called “TXM Wizard” they created for data collection and analysis using SSRL Beam Line 6-2's Xradia transmission X-ray microscope, which offers researchers and users the ability to peer into the three-dimensional chemistry and structure of a range of materials.

Unlike a traditional microscope, which views small structures with visible light (which has a relatively large, low-energy wavelength), the transmission X-ray microscope sees the world with X-rays (which have a very small wavelength, and are very high energy so they can penetrate deeply to “see through” objects). The new microscope also uses tunable X-rays that can be changed to reveal the chemistry of a sample, giving researchers the power to scrutinize materials to a level impossible without a synchrotron X-ray source. The final result is a three-dimensional image that can be turned into a movie of the nano-scale structural and chemical features of the sample. The workshop also included hands-on data analysis of such reconstructions and images.

"Many local users were able to attend," said SSRL staff scientist Joy Andrews Hayter. "They appreciated the chance to get a big-picture overview of our capabilities, and to see analysis of data other than their own. We also received lots of positive comments about the hands-on work, which helped them to gain more confidence with the data analysis process.”