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Direct Write Optical Lithography for Fabrication of X-Ray Gratings


Gratings are essential components of synchrotron radiation beamline systems and are used in both monochromators and spectrographs covering the photon energy range up to ~ 3 keV. While traditional ruling machines and holographic recording can provide many of the characteristics required, new lithographic methods based on direct optical writing have the potential to revolutionize grating production. In these methods, a sub-micron light spot or array of spots is produced, and a pattern is written in photoresist on a substrate by scanning the sample on an interferometrically controlled stage. This technique offers arbitrary pattern generation combined with very high throughput. Although some of these techniques are used in mature technologies such as integrated circuit and packaging manufacture, x-ray gratings have some unique challenges such as the use of very thick silicon or metallic substrates and a requirement for high precision control of the groove phase coherence over the full grating surface. We are therefore seeking proposals that aim to demonstrate these new direct write grating patterning techniques and show that the methodology will lead to the commercial marketplace in soft x-ray grating production.
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