X-Ray and Neutron Optics
The Center for X-Ray Optics was founded by Professor Emeritus Walter Gibson in 1990 to investigate the science and technology of the newly invented Kumakhov poycapillary optics. This technology, consisting of arrays of hollow glass tubes, provides a new mechanism for the control of x-ray and neutron beams. X-rays or slow neutrons incident on the interior of the glass tubes at small angles are guided down the tubes by total external reflection in much the way fiber optics guide light. A second technology, curved crystals are also studied. X-ray optics technology is the common denominator for a wide range of research projects. Materials-based applications include x-ray diffraction, x-ray fluorescence, and neutron activation. Medical applications embody another large area of research, including mammography, chest radiography, and x-ray and neutron therapy. Synchrotron research employing capillary optics, including radiation damage effects studies, are also part of the Center's research. Capillary optics also provide a forum for theoretical and experimental analysis of x-ray scattering and surface effect phenomenon, since the penetration depth of grazing incidence x-rays into glass is less than 10 nm.
The Center for X-Ray Optics in the new Lifesciences building houses six x-ray beam lines designed for testing and employing capillary x-ray optics. These include two 4 KW rotating anode sources, a unique high brilliance microfocus source designed for microdiffraction, and a small scale medical radiography source. In addition, there are two flexible low power microfocus test stations. Facilities include associated electronics, motion control and computers. Collaborations allow for experiments at external facilities, including a medical radiology department, the cold neutron source using the nuclear reactor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and three synchrotron facilities.