|Optical Metrology Lab Receives New Funding for Upgrades|
The Optical Metrology Lab (OML) at the ALS is renowned for its precision and technical expertise in metrology of x-ray optics. It has achieved this notoriety with only two full-time staff members and extremely limited laboratory facilities. Now, with new funding from the DOE that provides $1.2M to build a new clean room laboratory with environmental controls, and the promise of $1.4M to upgrade and replace outdated instrumentation, the OML will be able to achieve an even higher level of excellence.
Valeriy Yashchuk, head of the OML and member of the Experimental Systems Group (ESG), says of his lab, “Our methods are some of the best in the world, but unfortunately, environmental conditions are not as good as they could be.”
Plans for the funding include making a clean lab with high-temperature stability, allowing for more accurate, reliable, and efficient work. High-performance measurements could be taken 24 hours a day rather than just at night when the environmental conditions are more stable. A controls anteroom will facilitate remote operation of the metrology instrumentation in the clean room, avoiding temperature drifts like those caused by heat from unnecessary equipment and personnel in the lab. It will also serve for storage of optics, measurement instruments, and other equipment that draws foot traffic (and dirt) into the lab.
Funding will also help replace obsolete metrology instruments and improve existing state-of-the-art instrumentation. A Universal Test Mirror—an original system for the precise calibration of slope measuring profilers—is currently under development in collaboration with BESSY and PTB (Germany). “Thorough calibration and testing of metrology instrumentation is a key point for the state-of-the-art metrology of x-ray optics,” says Yashchuk.
As the needs of the x-ray science community press the limits of x-ray optics, Yashchuk and colleague Wayne McKinney are also looking forward to using some of the new funding to hire staff to meet demand. In addition to the ALS, facilities like the LCLS, LLNL, SLAC and CXRO, send their x-ray optics to the OML for repair and metrology services. Additional staffing and funding will help to build the OML in to a true “West Coast Center for Metrology of X-Ray Optics.”