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SLAC enters into X-ray technology transfer agreement

STANFORD -- The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) has entered into a special agreement with two private companies to adapt its X-ray mirror technology for commercial and industrial use.

The two companies are Adelphi Technology Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., and Ovonic Synthetic Materials Company Inc. (OSMC) of Troy, Mich. They have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with SLAC to develop a reliable method to design and manufacture state-of- the-art multilayer coatings required for high-efficiency X-ray mirrors.

This agreement is part of a special Department of Energy program designed to encourage the transfer of technology developed in national laboratories into the private sector. DOE is investing $230,000 in the project, while Adelphi and OSMC are contributing $140,000.

High-efficiency X-ray optics are expected to play a crucial role in emerging technologies that require precision imaging and analysis in the X-ray range. Examples of such potential applications include upgrading of the quality of angiograms (X-ray images of blood vessels), improved detection of ultralow concentrations of impurities on semiconductor wafers, and imaging of astronomical X-ray sources.

SLAC - a national laboratory devoted to research in high energy physics and synchrotron radiation that is operated for the Department of Energy by Stanford University - has supported pioneering work in the area of multilayer X-ray optics in conjunction with Stanford's Vapor Phase Synthesis Laboratory. This work and the development of X-ray beam lines for specialized research applications are ongoing activities at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory Division of SLAC.

Because of the high energy levels involved, highly efficient X-ray optics are more difficult to design and manufacture than those required for visible light beams. An important method for enhancing the effectiveness of X-ray mirrors, for example, involves the deposition of coatings that are only a few atomic layers in thickness on a substrate. These multilayer coatings, in turn, are typically composed of repeated layer-pairs of two different materials. The number, compositions and thicknesses of the layer-pairs must be precisely specified for the energy of the beam with which the mirror will be used.

Under the new agreement the development of multilayer coatings that can be precisely tailored to reflect X-ray beams should be significantly extended.

Adelphi, which has concentrated on the development of X-ray sources and optics for the past 11 years, will assist SLAC researchers in translating theoretical designs of multilayer X-ray optics into fabrication requirements, and in the eventual testing of fabricated optics. Its broad range of expertise in X-ray sources and optics is expected to help define potential commercial applications for multilayer optics.

OSMC, which will fabricate the X-ray devices designed on this joint project, is a pioneer in the field of engineered materials produced by rapid solidification and vacuum deposition processes. These materials are used in the production of bonded permanent magnets and to reflect X-rays and neutrons in vacuum spectrometers, X-ray telescopes, X-ray microscopes, X-ray lithography systems and related devices.



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