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Open Access Publications from the University of California

High-resolution, high-transmission soft x-ray spectrometer for the study of biological samples


We present a variable line-space grating spectrometer for soft x-rays that covers the photon energy range between 130 and 650 eV. The optical design is based on the Hettrick-Underwood principle and tailored to synchrotron-based studies of radiation-sensitive biological samples. The spectrometer is able to record the entire spectral range in one shot, i.e., without any mechanical motion, at a resolving power of 1200 or better. Despite its slitless design, such a resolving power can be achieved for a source spot as large as 30x3000 mu m2, which is important for keeping beam damage effects in radiation-sensitive samples low. The high spectrometer efficiency allows recording of comprehensive two-dimensional resonant inelastic soft x-ray scattering (RIXS) maps with good statistics within several minutes. This is exemplarily demonstrated for a RIXS map of highly oriented pyrolytic graphite, which was taken within 10 min.

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