Monday, August 28, 2006

US Patent 7095822 - X-Ray Near Field Microscope

In the early 1980's a new series of microscopes were invented by IBM and others which were capable of resolving images on the atomic level. As opposed to more conventional microscopes using light or electrons these microscopes were characterized by sharp probe tips which were held in proximity to the sample being inspected. Due to their high resolving power and sensitivity these new microscopes set the stage for many of the developments in nanotechnology happening today. This patent modifies one of the basic types of these new microscopes to control x-ray beams used to probe a sample. Claim 1 reads:

1. An x-ray probe system, comprising: a target supported adjacent a sample surface which is integrated into a probe tip of an atomic force microprobe (AFM); and a beam source for generating an energetic beam to generate x-ray emissions from the target to probe the sample.