High-speed adaptive correction of optics, based on real-time metrology feedback, has benefitted numerous scientific communities for several decades. However, it remains a major technological challenge to extend this concept into the hard x ray regime due to the necessity for active mirrors with single-digit nanometer height errors relative to a range of aspheric forms.

Schematic diagram showing the main hardware components and procedures for autonomous closed-loop control of the bimorph x ray mirror at 1 Hz based on interferometric feedback.

We have developed a high-resolution, real-time, closed-loop “adaptive” optical system for synchrotron and x ray free electron laser (XFEL) applications. After calibration of the wavefront using x ray speckle scanning, the wavefront diagnostic was removed from the x ray beam path. Non-invasive control of the size and shape of the reflected x ray beam was then demonstrated by driving a piezoelectric deformable bimorph mirror at ~1 Hz. Continuous feedback was provided by a 20 kHz direct measurement of the optical surface with picometer sensitivity using an array of interferometric sensors.

This enabled a non-specialist operator to reproduce a series of pre-defined x ray wavefronts, including focused or non-Gaussian profiles, such as flattop intensity or multiple split peaks with controllable separation and relative amplitude. Such changes can be applied in any order and in rapid succession without the need for invasive wavefront diagnostic sensors that block the x ray beam for scientific usage. These innovations have the potential to profoundly change how x ray focusing elements are utilized at synchrotron radiation and XFEL sources and provide unprecedented dynamic control of photon beams to aid scientific discoveries in a wide range of disciplines.

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