High-energy-resolution cryogenic microcalorimeters are a powerful new tool for x-ray microanalysis. With demonstrated energy resolution ~20 times better than with conventional semiconductor EDS, microcalorimeters are useful in applications such as nanoscale particle analysis. Unfortunately, single x-ray microcalorimeters are limited by low count rate (~500 s-1) and small area (~0.16 mm2). Both the count rate and the area can be improved by the implementation of arrays of microcalorimeters. In principle, this improvement in count rate and area comes without degraded energy resolution. The implementation of small microcalorimeter arrays will lead to improvements in the minimum detectable size of nanoscale particles and in the trace element concentration detection limit for a fixed analysis time. The development of kilopixel arrays capable of acquiring hundreds of thousands of counts per second, and with collecting areas of order 50 mm2, will make it possible to collect high-statistics spectra in small fractions of a second. This will make new applications possible, including real-time process-stream monitoring and the study of the evolution of film properties during deposition with x-ray fluorescence.
Citation: Microscopy and Microanalysis
Issue: suppl. 2
Pub Type: Journals