Both laboratory and synchrotron-based microanalytical techniques (e.g. microXRF, microXRD, x-ray microscopy, SAXS, etc.) have made substantial advances in the past decades, including improved algorithms and faster, higher sensitivity detectors. However, laboratory performance remains comparatively limited in performance (e.g. sensitivity and resolution), primarily due to limited laboratory x-ray source brightness and narrow selection of usable x-ray optics.
Here we present our patented x-ray source concept. Coupled with our proprietary high efficiency x-ray optics, the system provides over 50X brightness over a conventional x-ray illumination beam system comprised of a microfocus source and polycapillary optic. The brightness is enabled by the design of the x-ray targets, which are comprised of microstructured x-ray emitters in thermal contact with a diamond substrate. Utilization of a diamond substrate enables highly localized and large thermal gradients that rapidly cool the metal as x-rays and heat are generated under the bombardment of electrons.
In addition to brightness, the spectral output of the x-ray source, particularly the characteristic lines, is sometimes indeed more important than brightness alone. For example, fluorescence cross-sections can vary by several orders of magnitude depending on the characteristic energy employed. Throughput and contrast of x-ray imaging and microscopy are also highly dependent on x-ray energy. Because characteristic lines can be the dominant spectral output for some metals, the ability to select and change metal types within an x-ray source provides substantial performance advantages. Sigray’s x-ray source incorporates several choices of metals on its x-ray target for push-button energy selectability within the x-ray source. A turret of Sigray’s interchangeable x-ray optics that are optimized for highest efficiencies at these energies can be coupled to provide the optimal flux and spectrum for each application.