USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

High Performance Cryogenic X-ray Spectrometer for Chemical Analysis of Dilute…

Award Information

Department of Energy
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2008 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Atlas Scientific
1367 Camino Robles Way San Jose, CA 95120-4925
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2008
Title: High Performance Cryogenic X-ray Spectrometer for Chemical Analysis of Dilute Samples
Agency: DOE
Contract: DE-FG02-08ER86371
Award Amount: $99,960.00


Many critically important biological processes ¿ such as oxygen production during photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, biogenic hydrogen production, and the evolution of the bioavailability of heavy metal contaminants ¿ are associated with changes in the oxidation state of metal ions. The most effective technique for studying the chemistry of these dilute systems is synchrotron-based, fluorescence-detected, X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), which is typically performed at such DOE facilities as the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Advanced Light Source. This project will develop a prototype X-ray spectrometer that will incorporate a high-efficiency, high-rate, high-resolution, superconducting X-ray detector that is cooled to its operating temperature by a user-friendly and economical cryostat. The first goal is to develop a new generation of superconducting tunnel junctions (STJs), with absorber materials and device geometry optimized to improve energy resolution, reduce spectral artifacts, and increase quantum efficiency for increased sensitivity and dynamic range. The second goal is to develop a self-contained helium-3 sorption cryostat that will be compact, nonmagnetic, reliable, economical, and easy to operate. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The Advanced Detector Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory routinely receives more requests than they can accommodate for collaborations by scientists who want to exploit the unique capabilities of their superconducting spectrometer. This project addresses this deficiency by enabling the first commercial supply of STJ detectors and affordable cryostats. The estimated market for X-ray detectors is on the order of 100 million dollars annually. Improved STJ detectors also may have applications in scanning electron beam nano-analysis tools for the integrated circuit industry.

Principal Investigator:

Ben Helvensteijn

Business Contact:

Ali Kashani
Small Business Information at Submission:

Atlas Scientific
1367 Camino Robles Way San Jose, CA 95120

EIN/Tax ID: 770128941
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, ADM471
San Francisco, CA 94132 1722
Contact: Ken Paap
Contact Phone: (415) 338-7091
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university