Closing the Gap to the Diffraction Limit: Near Wavelength Limited Tabletop Soft X-Ray Coherent Diffractive Imaging

<p>Light microscopy has greatly advanced our understanding of nature. The achievable resolution, however, is limited by optical wavelengths to around 200 nm. Using novel imaging and labeling technologies, resolutions beyond the diffraction limit can be achieved for specialized specimens using techniques such as near-field scanning optical microscopy, stimulated emission depletion microscopy and structured illumination microscopy [1\textendash3]. This dissertation presents a versatile soft x-ray diffraction microscope with 50 nm resolution using tabletop coherent soft x-ray sources. This work represents the first high resolution demonstrations of coherent diffractive or lensless imaging using tabletop extreme ultraviolet and soft x-ray sources [4, 5].</p> <p><br /> This dissertation also presents the first use of field curvature correction in x-ray coherent imaging which allows high numerical aperture imaging and near-diffraction limited resolution of 1.5λ. The relevant theory behind high harmonic generation, the primary tabletop source used in this work, will be discussed as well as the theory behind coherent diffractive imaging. Additionally, the first demonstration of tabletop soft x-ray Fourier Transform holography is shown with important applications to shorter wavelength imaging with high harmonic generation with limited flux. A tabletop soft x-ray diffraction microscope should find broad applications in biology, nanoscience, and materials science due to its simple optical design, high resolution, large depth of field, 3D imaging capability, scalability to shorter wavelengths, and ultrafast temporal resolution.</p> <p>\&nbsp;</p>
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University of Colorado Boulder
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