High energy X-rays

High Energy X-Rays

High energy X-rays

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High energy X-rays or HEX-rays are very hard X-rays, with typical energies of 80 keV - 1000 keV (1 MeV), about one order of magnitude higher than conventional X-rays (and well into gamma-ray energies over 120 keV). They are produced at modern synchrotron radiation sources such as the beamline ID15 at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). The main benefit is the deep penetration into matter which makes them a probe for thick samples in physics and materials science and permits an in-air sample environment and operation. Scattering angles are small and diffraction directed forward allows for simple detector setups.


High Energy X-Rays (HEX-rays) between 100 and 300 keV bear unique advantage over conventional hard X-rays, which lie in the range of 5-20 keV (or 12 to 120 keV). They can be listed as follows:

  • High penetration into materials due to a strongly reduced photo absorption cross section. The photo-absorption strongly depends on the atomic number of the material and the X-ray energy. Several centimeter thick volumes can be accesses in steel and millimeters in lead containing samples.
  • The Ewald sphere has a curvature ten times smaller than in the low energy case and allows whole regions to be mapped in a reciprocal lattice, similar to electron diffraction.
  • Access to diffuse scattering. This is absorption and not extinction limited at low energies while volume enhancement takes place at high energies. Complete 3D maps over several Brillouin...... ...
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