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Open Access Publications from the University of California

X-ray diffraction gratings: Precise control of ultra-low blaze angle via anisotropic wet etching

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Diffraction gratings are used from micron to nanometer wavelengths as dispersing elements in optical instruments. At shorter wavelengths, crystals can be used as diffracting elements, but due to the 3D nature of the interaction with light are wavelength selective rather than wavelength dispersing. There is an urgent need to extend grating technology into the x-ray domain of wavelengths from 1 to 0.1 nm, but this requires the use of gratings that have a faceted surface in which the facet angles are very small, typically less than 1°. Small facet angles are also required in the extreme ultra-violet and soft x-ray energy ranges in free electron laser applications, in order to reduce power density below a critical damage threshold. In this work, we demonstrate a technique based on anisotropic etching of silicon designed to produce very small angle facets with a high degree of perfection.

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