University Researchers Create a New Type of Lenses

16 June 2017
Researchers of the I.Kant Baltic Federal University and M.Lomonosov Moscow State University have published an article in the prestigious OPTICS EXPRESS journal of the American Optical Society (OSA). Research teams were headed by Dr Anatoly Snigirev (Laboratory of X-ray optics, I.Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad) and Dr Andrey Fedyanin (the Department of Quantum Electronics, Moscow State University).

The project, discussed in the article, is truly unique. Firstly, it is based on micro- and nano-printing. Russian scientists managed to create a polymer X-ray lens using a 3D printer. The new lens allows scientists to see nanosize objects in their entirety as if through the lenses of an optical microscope. The aperture of the parabolic mirror is 30 microns, and the radius of the curvature is 5 μm. Just to compare, the thickness of a human hair is 40-120 microns. The new type of lenses can be used in compact x-ray microscopy. The creation of this new type of lenses is an important event for the development of the so-called additive technologies focused on manufacturing objects layer by layer, rather than cutting them out of a single piece of metal, stone, wood, etc. Secondly, the duration of the project was six months only. The two groups of researchers decided to create polymer lenses for X-ray microscopy in December 2016. Within three weeks, scientists from Moscow University made the first batch of lenses using 3 D-printing. In January 2017, these lenses were tested on the Synchrotron LIKE installation in the I.Kant Baltic Federal University. Within an extremely short period of time, the results of this joint research work were published in the EXPRESS OPTIC journal. When the article was already in print, the new lenses underwent an X-ray resistance test in Hamburg, at one of the PETRA-III synchrotron stations at the DESY Research Center.

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