The Center for X-ray Optics (CXRO) built and operates a high-resolution soft x-ray microscope (XM-1) at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley. We report on the use of this instrument in a variety of scientific fields, including biology, civil engineering and environmental sciences.
The microscope is a conventional (full field) x-ray microscope, which uses zone plate lenses to provide high resolution transmission images. The optical setup is similar to the Göttingen x-ray microscope, operated at the BESSY synchrotron radiation facility in Berlin, Germany. A condenser zone plate, fabricated by the Göttingen group, is illuminating the sample and an objective zone plate, fabricated by Erik Anderson (CXRO), is forming an enlarged image on an x-ray CCD camera. While the optical path of the microscope is in vacuum, the sample is at atmospheric pressure, flushed by helium. The spatial resolution of our microscope is 43 nm, measured as the distance from 10%-90% intensity in the image of a knife-edge.