Spatial resolution limits for synchrotron-based spectromicroscopy in the mid- and near-infrared
Spatial resolution tests were performed on beamline 1.4.4 at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, CA, USA, a third-generation synchrotron light source. This beamline couples the high-brightness synchrotron source to a Thermo-Electron Continumum XL infrared microscope. Two types of resolution tests were performed in both the mid-IR and near-IR. The results are compared with a diffraction-limited spot size theory. At shorter near-IR wavelengths the experimental results begin to deviate from diffraction-limited so a combined diffraction-limit and electron-beam-source-size model is employed. This description shows how the physical electron beam size of the synchrotron source begins to dominate the focused spot size at higher energies. The transition from diffraction-limited to electron-beam-size-limited performance is a function of storage-ring parameters and the optical demagnification within the beamline and microscope optics. The discussion includes how different facilities, beamlines and microscopes will affect the achievable spatial resolution. As synchrotron light sources and other next-generation accelerators such as energy-recovery LINACs and free-electron lasers achieve smaller beam emittances, beta-functions and/or energy spreads, diffraction-limited performance can continue to higher-energy beams, perhaps ultimately into the extreme ultraviolet.