Hard x-ray scanning microscopy relies on small and intensive nanobeams. Refractive x-ray lenses are well suited to generate hard x-ray beams with lateral dimensions of 100 nm and below. The diffraction limited beam size of refractive x-ray lenses mainly depends on the focal length and the attenuation inside the lens material. The numerical aperture of refractive lenses scales with the inverse square root of the focal length until it reaches the critical angle of total reflection. We have used nanofocusing refractive x-ray lenses made of silicon to focus hard x-rays at 8 and 20 keV to (sub-)100 nm dimensions. Using ptychographic scanning coherent diffraction imaging we have characterized these nanobeams with high accuracy and sensitivity, measuring the full complex wave field in the focus. This gives access to the full caustic and aberrations of the x-ray optics.
During the last years, scanning coherent x-ray microscopy, also called ptychography, has revolutionized nanobeamcharacterization at third generation x-ray sources. The method yields the complete information on the complex valued, nanofocused wave field with high spatial resolution. In an experiment carried out at the Matter in Extreme Conditions (MEC) instrument at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) we successfully applied the method to an attenuated nanofocused XFEL beam with a size of 180(h) × 150(v)nm<sup>2</sup> (FWHM) in horizontal (h) and vertical direction (v), respectively. It was created by a set of 20 beryllium compound refractive lenses (Be-CRLs). By using a fast detector (CSPAD) to record the diffraction patterns and a fast implementation of the phase retrieval code running on a graphics processing unit (GPU), the applicability of the method as a real-time XFEL nanobeam diagnostic is highlighted.
A hard x-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) provides an x-ray source with an extraordinary high peak-brilliance, a time structure with extremely short pulses and with a large degree of coherence, opening the door to new scientific fields. Many XFEL experiments require the x-ray beam to be focused to nanometer dimensions or, at least, benefit from such a focused beam. A detailed knowledge about the illuminating beam helps to interpret the measurements or is even inevitable to make full use of the focused beam. In this paper we report on focusing an XFEL beam to a transverse size of 125nm and how we applied ptychographic imaging to measure the complex wavefield in the focal plane in terms of phase and amplitude. Propagating the wavefield back and forth we are able to reconstruct the full caustic of the beam, revealing aberrations of the nano-focusing optic. By this method we not only obtain the averaged illumination but also the wavefield of individual XFEL pulses.
Modern hard x-ray scanning microscopes generate x-ray beams with lateral sizes well below 100 nm. Characterizing
these beams in terms of shape and size by conventional techniques is tedious, requires highly accurate
test objects and stages, and yields only incomplete information. Since recently, we use a ptychographic scanning
coherent diffraction imaging technique in order to characterize hard x-ray nano beams in x-ray scanning microscopes,
obtaining a detailed quantitative picture of the complex wave field in the nano focus and allowing one
to reconstruct the exit wave field behind the nano-focusing optic, giving detailed insight into its aberrations.