Extreme Ultraviolet Light Table-Top Microscope2008 R&D 100 Winner

What constitutes the perfect microscope? Is it the resolution? Flexibility for examining a wide variety of samples? One that can be used quickly and often? The Extreme Ultraviolet Light Table-Top Microscope (EUVM-1) from the Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, Colo., appears to strive for all of these qualities and meets them efficiently.

The goal for the EUVM-1, which began development in 2003, was to create an optical microscope that would achieve high resolution with the benefit of short-wavelength extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light. Nanoscale imaging is possible by using the EUV laser as the illumination source. The result is a tabletop instrument of 46.9-nm wavelength illumination with reflective and diffractive optics to capture full-field images with 50 nm spatial resolution in a single exposure of ~1 ns duration. The illumination source is notable at ~10 J of energy, or 2.3 x 1012 photons/pulse.

The other major advantage of the EUVM-1 is that operating costs are low, the learning curve to the use instrument is low, and it can obtain thousands of pictures per day.

Optical microscope

Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology, Colorado State Univ.