In 2008 we presented the first images obtained with a new type of matter wave microscope: NEutral Helium Atom MIcroscopy (NEMI). The main features in NEMI are the low energy of the atoms (<0.1 eV) and the fact that they are neutral. This means that fragile and/or insulating samples can be imaged without surface damage and charging effects. The ultimate resolution limit is given by the de Broglie wavelength (about 0.06 nm for a room-temperature beam), but reaching a small focus spot is still a major challenge. The best result previously was about 2 μm. The main result of this paper is the focusing of a helium atom beam to a diameter below 1 μm. A particular challenge for neutral helium microscopy is the optical element for focusing. The most promising option is to manipulate neutral helium via its de Broglie wavelength, which requires optical elements structured to nanometre precision. Here we present an investigation of the helium focusing properties of nanostructured Fresnel zone-plates. Experiments were performed by varying the illuminated area and measuring the corresponding focused spot sizes and focused beam intensities. The results were fitted to a theoretical model. There is a deviation in the efficiency of the larger zone plate, which indicates a distortion in the zone-plate pattern, but nevertheless there is good agreement between model and experiments for the focus size. This together with the demonstration of focusing to below 1 μm is an important step towards nanometre resolution neutral helium microscopy.

Focusing of a neutral helium beam below one micron

BRACCO, GIANANGELO;
2012-01-01

Abstract

In 2008 we presented the first images obtained with a new type of matter wave microscope: NEutral Helium Atom MIcroscopy (NEMI). The main features in NEMI are the low energy of the atoms (<0.1 eV) and the fact that they are neutral. This means that fragile and/or insulating samples can be imaged without surface damage and charging effects. The ultimate resolution limit is given by the de Broglie wavelength (about 0.06 nm for a room-temperature beam), but reaching a small focus spot is still a major challenge. The best result previously was about 2 μm. The main result of this paper is the focusing of a helium atom beam to a diameter below 1 μm. A particular challenge for neutral helium microscopy is the optical element for focusing. The most promising option is to manipulate neutral helium via its de Broglie wavelength, which requires optical elements structured to nanometre precision. Here we present an investigation of the helium focusing properties of nanostructured Fresnel zone-plates. Experiments were performed by varying the illuminated area and measuring the corresponding focused spot sizes and focused beam intensities. The results were fitted to a theoretical model. There is a deviation in the efficiency of the larger zone plate, which indicates a distortion in the zone-plate pattern, but nevertheless there is good agreement between model and experiments for the focus size. This together with the demonstration of focusing to below 1 μm is an important step towards nanometre resolution neutral helium microscopy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/389933
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