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Crystals with curved diffracting planes for hard X-ray optics

Bellucci, Valerio (2015) Crystals with curved diffracting planes for hard X-ray optics. PhD Thesis , Università degli Studi di Ferrara.

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    Crystals with curved diffraction planes (CDP crystals) are an emerging technology in hard X-ray optics. Through them, it is possible to condition hard X-ray beams with high energy efficiency and flexibility. Optical instruments for visible light are not effective to manipulate high-energy radiation. In fact, the phenomena of reflection and refraction on which they are based become unimportant for electromagnetic waves with high energy. For this reason, optics of hard X-rays and gamma rays has been up to now based direct view instruments. In contrast, diffraction phenomena can be important even at high energies. Therefore, it is possible to condition hard X-ray beams by Bragg diffraction. Bragg diffraction is called Laue diffraction when the electromagnetic wave goes through the crystal. Due to the length of penetration of high-energy photons, this configuration appears to be preferable than diffraction in reflection geometry (Bragg diffraction). Recently, optical systems have been developed based on perfect crystals or mosaic crystals. However, instruments based on these materials have constructive difficulties, poor reproducibility, and finally a limited efficiency. Crystals with curved lattice planes have an efficiency in the manipulation of X-rays that approaches the unity. Through the curvature of their plans, they offer a continuum of possible angles of diffraction to incident radiation. Thus, the curvature of planes allows to influence photons in a wide range of energies. It is also possible to apply more than one curvature to a single crystal, deforming the symmetry, thus turning it into a focusing element. The curved crystals have elective application in the construction of lenses for hard X-rays (Laue lenses), composed by a set of crystal with diffraction planes oriented towards a common point, so as to diffract the incident radiation towards the focus of the lens. This tool is especially useful in the field of astrophysics and medical physics. The observation of the sky over energy of 70 keV is still left to direct view instruments. These have a low angular resolution, a low signal to noise ratio, and a high weight, which is an important parameter because the observation of X-rays is only possible out of the atmosphere. The cosmic sources of X-rays produce a very low flux of photons, so the signal to noise ratio of the instrument becomes a key factor for the investigation of these sources. Today, only the spectra of the most intense sources are known at energies above 70 keV. Another discipline that can benefit from the use of CDPs crystals is nuclear medicine. Indeed, it would be possible to increase the sensitivity and accuracy of instruments for nuclear medicine by using focusing optics based on curved crystals. The spatial resolution of the instrument would be increased to a sub-millimeter precision, with which it would be possible to accurately locate tumors and other phenomena of interest, and to provide more information on the same. Due to the high reflectivity of the CDPs crystals, even the number of photons that can be collected on the detector would be increased, with a consequent improvement in the sensitivity of the instrument, and a decrease in the dose of radio-drug to be injected into the patient. The formalism developed so far under the dynamical theory of diffraction allows to describe effectively crystals with flat diffraction planes, or crystals with diffraction planes strongly deformed. Various applications require CDPs with low curvatures, in particular when crystals with high atomic number are used. In this case, the formalism of dynamical theory is not applicable in a simple way. To know the performance of the CDPs crystals in these areas of application, it is necessary the development of a treatment dedicated to the purpose. The theoretical work has touched the development of the dynamic theory of diffraction in order to cover its weaknesses for CDPs with low curvature. The work of technological development and construction of hardware for scientific research focused on the development and production of innovative crystals for the construction of hard X-ray lenses. The construction of Laue lenses has been simplified with the introduction of focusing crystals. The thesis work was partially carried out within the LAUE Project, funded by ASI, whose purpose was the construction of a large-area Laue lenses. The work done during the doctoral thesis has led to a rethinking of the project in order to use focusing crystals and thus to increase the resolution and sensitivity of the lens. The work on crystals for Laue lenses did not end with the LAUE Project, but it continued with a series of technological innovations with the aim to increase the maximum resolution and sensitivity achievable by Laue lenses. These innovations include the introduction of crystals with multiple curvatures and focusing crystals, the study of novel methods with which to produce crystals with CDPs, the construction of stacks of multi-crystals, the use of curved asymmetric diffraction planes. The experimental tests were performed at the facilities of ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France), ILL (Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, France) and LARIX (LARge Italian X-ray facility, Ferrara, Italy). Simulations were also performed to estimate the possible interferences that a Laue lens could suffer in orbit because of the interaction with cosmic rays and the consequent production of parametric X-rays. This source of X-rays may interfere with measurements of celestial X-ray sources. The work has led to the exclusion of this possibility, since the emission of parametric X-rays would be less than the sensitivity of the lens itself. Finally, the technologies developed to produce CDPs crystals were used for the construction of a crystalline undulator built as a prototype of X-ray source with high-energy and high flux. Lattice planes of a crystals where shaped in an undulated structure. Characterization of these lattice planes showed near-ideal results. High-energy charged particles channeled through these planes would produce coherent X-rays. The prototype will be part of an experiment at the SLAC accelerator (San Francisco, USA).

    Item Type:Thesis (PhD Thesis)
    Date:27 February 2015
    Tutor:Guidi, Vincenzo
    Coordinator:Guidi, Vincenzo
    Institution:Università degli Studi di Ferrara
    PhD:XXVII Anno 2012 > FISICA
    Divisions:Dipartimento > Fisica e Scienze della terra
    Subjects:Area 02 - Scienze fisiche > FIS/03 Fisica della materia
    Uncontrolled Keywords:crystal, curved, diffraction, X-ray, optics, cristalli, diffrazione, curvi, raggi-X
    Deposited on:04 Aug 2015 08:42


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