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Large area detector developed at Argonne

Argonne, IL - A device that will allow researchers to examine material structure at the atomic level in one large image about 5 1/2 in. square - the largest synchrotron X-ray image of its type yet generated - has been developed at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). This large area detector is the biggest to date for an X-ray synchrotron. Argonne researcher B. Rodricks developed the detector for use on a beamline on Argonne's Advanced Photon Source, which will produce the world's most brilliant X-ray beams for research when it is completed in 1996.

He will use the detector and the beam line for time-resolved X-ray scattering, to examine materials at the atomic level as well as for diagnostic medical imaging. The detector allows study of small details in large samples, allowing comparison of changes in the material over time.

The detector uses four smaller fiber-optic tapers to blend into one large image 14 cm (about 5.5 in.) square. Rodricks explains that the image from each taper is focused onto a charge coupled device, which allows the images to be captured at exactly the same moment, making the data perfectly parallel.

The detector also features an extremely fast resolution time - retrieving data in 25 millionths of a second - allowing studies of material formation and deformation that were not possible before. Fractures and dislocation strains in high-strength materials can be observed on the atomic level as they occur, and the stresses which are often created as new materials are formed can be watched in real time on the atomic level. Funding for this research comes from the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences.