Applied Physics

X-rays Chopped to Order

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Science  28 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5786, pp. 411
DOI: 10.1126/science.313.5786.411b

High-intensity x-ray sources such as synchrotrons have recently facilitated many studies of the dynamical properties of materials, such as phase transitions, conformational changes, and other transient behavior. However, synchrotron geometries and operating parameters, as well as available mechanical chopper technology, have limited the repetition frequencies and durations of x-ray bunches deliverable to the samples under investigation.

Grigoriev et al. demonstrate a versatile diffractive switch to isolate x-ray pulses, based on the lattice shift induced in a piezoelectric Pb(Zr, Ti)O3 thin film by an electric field. A 15-V applied field pulse, 10 ns in duration, induces 0.38% mechanical strain in the piezoelectric layer, thereby redirecting the x-rays; whether the diffraction blocks or transmits the radiation depends on the scattering angle chosen for the experiment. The switch is 50 μm in diameter—a size window accessible to the focused output of a typical synchrotron—and can be driven by an arbitrary combination of signals spanning a range from 0 (dc) to 10 kHz. Thus, a tailored x-ray pulse sequence can be delivered to suit the desired application. — ISO

Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 21109 (2006).

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