The needs both for increased experimental throughput and for in-operando characterization of functional materials under increasingly realistic experimental conditions have emerged as major challenges across the whole of crystallography. Aiming to address these challenges in the context of the X-ray synchrotron community, we propose and demonstrate a multiplexing scheme based on micro-slit arrays fabricated by photolithography. This scheme, in principle applicable to all inline synchrotron techniques, features parallel measurements at multiple locations and provides either much improved measurement statistics, or the simultaneous probing of heterogeneous structures, dynamics and elemental compositions. To illustrate, the submicrometer precision that optical lithography provides has been exploited to create a multiplexed form of ultra-small-angle scattering based X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy. This is applied to follow the equilibrium dynamics of a simple colloidal suspension. While the dependence of the relaxation time on momentum transfer, and its relationship to the diffusion constant and the static structure factor, follow previous findings, the multiplexed arrangement reduces the statistical uncertainties of this photon-starved technique to below those associated with the instrument resolution. More importantly, we note the potential of the multiplexed scheme to elucidate the response of different components of a heterogeneous sample under identical experimental conditions in simultaneous measurements. This will open a new paradigm for in-operando characterization of heterogeneous functional materials, a situation that will be even further enhanced by the ongoing development of multi-bend achromat storage ring designs as the next evolution of large-scale X-ray synchrotron facilities around the world.
Pub Type: Journals
X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy, ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering, microstructure dynamics, multiplexed synchrotron measurements, nanofabrication