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Microcalorimeter X-ray Detector

Microcalorimeter x-ray detectors that measure the energy of single x-ray photons by means of a transition-edge sensor were invented by physicists at the NIST Boulder Laboratory.  These detectors provide remarkable resolution over an extensive range of x-ray energies.  However, the small detector areas, low temperatures of operation, superconducting electronics, and data processing present a high level of complexity that has discouraged their commercialization and routine use.  The project concentrates on the resolution of technical challenges to simplify the operation and calibration of these instruments in physics and materials science applications.

 

Microcalorimeter x-ray detector
High resolution spectrum of a multielement standard reference material.

Facilities

Ultralow temperature cryostat (35mK) with 8 low energy and 8 high energy transition edge sensor microcalorimeters

JEOL 840 Electron Microscope

UHV vacuum chamber with Mg Kα soft x-ray excitation source

Customers/Contributors/ Collaborators

Stephen Thurgate (Murdoch University, Perth, Australia)

Robin Cantor (Star Cryoelectronics)

Major Accomplishments

Quantitative microanalysis in electron microscopy; automated energy calibration of detectors; pulse analysis and processing in real time; combined spectra from multiple detectors.

Related NIST Projects

Microcalorimeter and microbolometer development (Joel Ullom, Div. 687).

Single photon detection for quantum cryptography and other applications (Sae Woo Nam, Div. 686).

Related Publication

Improving Energy Stability in the NIST Microcalorimeter X-ray Detector,” Terrence Jach, John A. Small, and Dale E. Newbury, Powder Diffraction 20, 134 (2005).

Improving Energy Stability in the NIST Microcalorimeter X-ray Detector,” Terrence Jach, John A. Small, and Dale E. Newbury, Adv. X-ray Anal. 48, 216 (2005).

“Quantitative Analysis with the Transition Edge Sensor Microcalorimeter X-ray Detector,” Terrence Jach, Nicholas Ritchie, Joel Ullom, and James A. Beall, Powder Diffraction 22, 138 (2007).

“Quantitative Analysis with the Transition Edge Sensor Microcalorimeter X-ray Detector,” Terrence Jach, Nicholas Ritchie, Joel Ullom, and James A. Beall, Adv. X-ray Anal. 50, 51 (2007).

“Multiplexed Microcalorimeter Arrays for Precision Measurements from Microwave to Gamma-ray Wavelengths,” J. N. Ullom, W. B. Doriese, J. A. Beall, W. D. Duncan, L. Ferreira, G. C. Hilton, R. D. Horansky, K. D. Irwin, T. Jach, B. Mates, N. A. Miller, G. C. O’Neil, C. D. Teintsema, N. Ritchie, D. S. Schmidt, L. R. Vale, Y. Xu, B. L. Zing, A. Hoover, C. R. Rudy, D. M. Tournear, D. T. Vo, M. W. Rabin, Nucl. Instrum. & Methods A 579, 161 (2007).

“High-resolution X-ray Spectroscopy with the TES Microcalorimeter X-ray Detector,” T. Jach, N. Ritchie, and J. Ullom, Proceedings of the 2008 European Conference on X-ray Spectroscopy, O5-11 (2008).

“The Microcalorimeter X-ray Detector: A True Paradigm Shift in X-ray Spectroscopy,” T. Jach, J. N. Ullom, and W. T. Elam, Eur. Phys. J. Special Topics 169, 237 (2009).

High Resolution X-ray Spectrometry of Solids using the Microcalorimeter X-ray Detector,” Terrence Jach, Surf. Interface Anal. 42, 1646 (2010).

“System for Detecting and Real Time Processing X-Ray Pulses from Microcalorimeter Detectors” Terrence J. Jach and Stephen M. Thurgate, Patent No. 10345249, awarded July 9, 2019.

 

Created February 1, 2018, Updated August 7, 2020