X-ray microscopy

The well-established way to obtain the ultimate resolution is to use X-ray optics. This imaging technique is since many years performed at synchrotrons, since they can provide a high brilliance monochromatic beam. In recent decades, the optics-based X-ray microscope based on laboratory sources are commercially available.

The X-ray optics limits the bandwidth of the spectrum, thus a high brightness and relatively monochromatic X-ray source is needed. The conventional laboratory-based X-ray microscopes often use high-power rotating-anode sources. The drawback of this setup is the high loss of flux, since the acceptance angle of the optics will strictly limit what radiation that can become useful. A MetalJet source offers a sharp, high-intensity Kα line from Gallium emitted from a small focal spot, making a considerably larger fraction of the flux useful in the optics setup. This higher brightness makes broad applications possible also on compact sources.

Schematic of high-resolution optics-based X-ray microscope. Just like in a visible light microscope, the condenser optic illuminates the sample and the high-resolution objective images the sample to the detector.

Application examples for X-ray microscopy

The periodic line patterns at the inner of a Siemens star, with 150 nm lines and spaces, can be resolved with the X-ray microscope based on the MetalJet D2 source. The image was taken with a Fresnel zone plate as objective. 

C. Fella, et al., “Hybrid setup for micro- and nano-computed tomography in the hard X-ray range”, Rev. Sci. Instrum. (2017); 

From the same publication, a volumetric rendering of the CT of a bent ~ 4 µm tip of the bend tip of a damaged injection cannula with X-ray microscope based on Excillum’s MetalJet source. The voxel size was 147 nm.

C. Fella, et al., “Hybrid setup for micro- and nano-computed tomography in the hard X-ray range”, Rev. Sci. Instrum. (2017); 

Unless otherwise stated, pictures and content is published under license for CC-BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/​).


High resolution microimaging
Studying polycrystalline materials at the microscale
X-ray ptychography: from the synchrotron to your laboratory


MetalJet and NanoTube for X-ray imaging applications

Publications & more

Imaging knowledge

Recommended products for X-ray microscopy

MetalJet E1+ 160 kV
MetalJet D2+ 70 kV
NanoTube N3

Related X-ray methods

Phase-contrast imaging

Attenuation-contrast imaging