High-resolution X-ray emission spectroscopy with transition-edge sensors: present performance and future potential
William B. Doriese, Joseph W. Fowler, Daniel S. Swetz, Cherno Jaye, Daniel A. Fischer, Carl D. Reintsema, Douglas A. Bennett, Leila R. Vale, Gene C. Hilton, Daniel R. Schmidt, Joel N. Ullom, Jens Uhlig, Ujjwal Mandal, Galen C. O'Neil, Luis Miaja Avila, Young Il Joe, wilfrid fullagar, Fredrick P. Gustafsson, Dharma Kurunthu, Villy Sundstrom
X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) is a powerful element-selective tool to analyze the oxidation states of atoms in complex compounds, determine their electronic configuration, and identify unknown compounds in challenging environments. Until now the low efficiency of wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectrometer technology has limited the use of XES, especially in combination with weaker laboratory X-ray sources. More efficient energy-dispersive detectors have either insufficient energy resolution because of the statistical limits described by Fano or too low counting rates to be of practical use. This paper updates an approach to high-resolution X-ray emission spectroscopy that uses a microcalorimeter detector array of superconducting transition-edge sensors (TESs). TES arrays are discussed and compared with conventional methods, and shown under which circumstances they are superior. It is also shown that a TES array can be integrated into a table-top time-resolved X-ray source and a soft X-ray synchrotron beamline to perform emission spectroscopy with good chemical sensitivity over a very wide range of energies.