NPL supports ultra-small movement measurement

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The NPL small angle interferometer mounted on NANGO – Image Courtesy of NPL

Small angle interferometry improves performance of nano-angle generator device

Scientists at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Diamond have used an NPL Small Angle Interferometer to characterise and extend the angular performance of Diamond’s nano-angle generator (NANGO).

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s synchrotron light source, one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the UK. It works like a giant microscope, harnessing the power of electrons to produce bright light that can be used to support many areas of science in the UK, including health and medicine, nanotechnology, archaeology and environmental sciences.

Traceable dimensional and angular metrology, particularly at the nanoscale, is essential for successful operation of Diamond as samples must be correctly positioned and scanned with respect to focused X-rays coming from beamlines. This is becoming increasingly challenging as the size of focused X-ray beams decreases.

For the first time, the team demonstrated that NANGO could generate angles smaller than 1 nanoradian (equivalent to approximately 57 billionths of a degree) which were measurable by an external instrument. Traceability of NANGO to the International System of Units (SI), via the NPL Angle Interferometer, provides the accuracy required to calibrate a wide range of angle generating or measuring devices to benefit Diamond’s beamlines.

Dr Andrew Yacoot, Principal Research Scientist, NPL said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to collaborate to bring traceability, via the NPL’s Small Angle Interferometer, to Diamond’s angle metrology which is fundamental to supporting synchrotron science. Our collaboration has opened many further opportunities, and I look forward to working with Diamond colleagues in the future.”

Jonathan Newell
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