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A New X-Ray Microscope for Nanoscale Imaging

Yong Chu and Evgeny Nazaretski

Yong Chu and Evgeny Nazaretski work in front of the new microscope they designed and installed at the NSLS-II.

Delivering the capability to image nanostructures and chemical reactions down to nanometer resolution requires a new class of x-ray microscope that can perform precision microscopy experiments using ultra-bright x-rays from the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. This groundbreaking instrument, designed to deliver a suite of unprecedented x-ray imaging capabilities for the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN) beamline, brings researchers one step closer to the ultimate goal of nanometer resolution at NSLS-II.

The microscope manipulates novel nanofocusing optics called multilayer Laue lenses (MLL) — incredibly precise lenses grown one atomic layer at a time — which produce a tiny x-ray beam that is currently about 10 nanometers in size. Focusing an x-ray beam to that level means being able to see the structures on that length scale; whether they are proteins in a biological sample, or the inner workings of a fuel cell catalyst.

The team of scientists who built this microscope aren’t stopping there; they are working toward making the focused x-ray beam spot even smaller in the future. The microscope they developed produces x-ray images by scanning a sample while collecting various x-ray signals emerging from the sample. Analysis of these signals helps researchers understand crucial information about the materials they are examining: density, elemental composition, chemical state, and the crystalline structure of the sample.

“This instrument is a critical link connecting NSLS-II’s bright x-rays to unprecedented nanoscale x-ray imaging capabilities, which we believe will lead to many groundbreaking scientific discoveries”, stressed Yong Chu, the group leader of the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe Beamline at NSLS-II. The HXN beamline and the HXN x-ray microscope are currently being commissioned and will be available for user experiments later this year.

To learn more visit:

2015-5639  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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National Biodiesel Board Honors BNL's Tom Butcher

Tom Butcher

Tom Butcher speaking at the National Biodiesel Board award ceremony.

Tom Butcher, an energy researcher at Brookhaven Lab, was recently honored by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) with a 2015 “Eye on Biodiesel” award in the innovation category. Butcher was recognized for playing “an instrumental role in the technical research” that led to the designation of six to 20 percent biodiesel blends as fuels. The citation credited his work documenting the positive field experience with biodiesel blends and providing the research background. 

“Biodiesel has grown very rapidly as a fuel, with more than 1.8 billion gallons produced in the U.S. last year,” Butcher said. “A lot of it is used for diesel engines, but there is also strong interest in using it for home heating systems. Home heating systems are a great application because they are technically simpler and cheaper than transportation diesel engines.”

The NBB works to clear barriers to deployment and widespread adoption of biodiesel, which was first used in 1993. At Brookhaven Lab, NBB sponsors Butcher’s research to help identify and understand the technical barriers to using biodiesel in home heating systems.

2015-5640  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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BNL Scientists Named American Physical Society Fellows

Four scientists who have made significant contributions to ongoing research at the Laboratory were among those recently named Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS), the world’s second largest organization of physicists. Election for this honor indicates recognition by scientific peers for exceptional contributions to physics. The four new Fellows and their APS citations are:

Mei Bai, Mary Bishai, Abhay Deshpande, Oleg Gang

Mei Bai – “For outstanding contributions to the dynamics of spin-polarized beams and the acceleration of polarized protons for the first high energy polarized proton collider.”

Mary Bishai – For her contributions to flavor physics, including analysis of the NuMI/MINOS neutrino beam, leadership of the accelerator neutrino program, and contributions to understanding of the b-quark.”

Abhay Deshpande – “For his sustained effort and leadership in experimental programs to understand the nucleons’ spin, employing polarized DIS experiments at CERN to high-energy polarized proton collisions at RHIC (with PHENIX detector), including early development of beam polarimetry and other essential tools; and for his leadership in the efforts toward realizing the future U.S. electron ion collider.”

Oleg Gang – “For demonstrating and developing the principles of programmable self-assembly of polymer-based nanostructures and for elucidating the physical origin of their assembly behavior.”

To learn more about these scientists and their research visit:

2015-5641  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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  • May 14 – Community Advisory Council meeting. 6:30 p.m., Brookhaven Center, South Room.

*The events above are free and open to the public. Visitors 16 and older must bring a photo ID for access to Brookhaven Lab events.

2015-5642  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office