Focusing X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) is very important for producing ultra-intense X-ray nanoprobes. We have developed a system based on multilayer Kirkpatrick–Baez (KB) mirrors to focus XFELs to 10 nm or less at the SPring-8 Angstrom Compact free-electron LAser (SACLA) facility. The mirror optics in the system are designed with a large NA of greater than 0.01 to produce a diffraction-limited size of 6 nm at 9 keV. We constructed a precise X-ray grating interferometer based on the Talbot effect, and succeeded in fabricating near-perfect focusing mirrors with wavefront aberrations of λ/4.
However, strict error tolerances for mirror alignment can prevent sub-10 nm focusing. Errors of perpendicularity, incident angle, and astigmatism cause aberration on the focusing wavefront and characteristically change the beam shape. In particular, the required accuracy of the incident angle is 500 nrad. Due to shot-by-shot variations in the XFEL beam position and vibration of the optics, a single-shot diagnosis of beam shape is essential to align the mirrors quickly and accurately. By improving the method proposed by Sikorski et al. at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), National Accelerator Laboratory, we propose a nanobeam diagnosis method based on the speckle pattern observed under coherent scattering. Computer simulation revealed that speckle size and beam size are inversely proportional. Platinum particles with a diameter of 2 nm were prepared and irradiated with X-rays to obtain a speckle pattern. Our experimental results demonstrate the successful estimation of beam shape and the alignment of all mirrors with the required accuracies.
Tight XFEL focusing is very important for significantly enhancing photon flux density, which is highly demanded by users exploring nonlinear X-ray optics. However, focusing XFEL down to 10 nm or less is so difficult from the viewpoints of both optical fabrication and optical alignment. The former can be overcome using techniques of wavefront sensing and fine shape correction. For the latter, techniques for directly measuring beam size on the focus without an influence of vibration of nanobeam are required. We have developed a technique for determining the size of nanobeam on the focus using an intensity interferometer, based on the Hanbury Brown and Twiss effect, of X-ray fluorescence emitted from a thin film inserted into the focus. The spatial coherence of X-ray fluorescence observed far from the focus depends on the distance from the focus and emission region of X-ray fluorescence. Therefore, the measured coherence can determine the size of X-ray nanobeam. This method has advantages that vibration of nanobeam does not affect the result and the setup is so simple.
A demonstration experiment was performed using a 100 nm focusing system based on total reflection KB mirrors at SACLA. X-ray fluorescence (8 keV) emitted from a thin Cu film by irradiation of focused XFEL pulses (12 keV) was detected shot-by-shot with a dual MPCCD. Analyses of approximately 1000 images based on the autocorrelation revealed that the beam size obtained with this method is in good agreement with one obtained with the wire scan method.