New discovery by Slovenian researchers to aid in electronic chip production

Ljubljana, 5 February - Researchers at the Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI) have developed the first adjustable light modulator that can be used in the x-ray spectral band. The discovery, based on a decade of research, sets new foundations for production of complex electronic chips, the JSI has said. The researchers published their findings in an article in Nature Photonics.

The JSI has been studying light-induced phase transitions for years, notably the phase transitions into metastable hidden states. These are states that cannot be achieved in normal conditions and require strong stimuli, such as laser beam or electric shock impulses, Igor Vaskivskyi, the first listed author of the article, wrote in a statement on Monday.

Researchers at the JSI showed that they can use the metastable hidden states to create a new form of optical equipment, notably the light modulator that can work in extreme UV and X-ray spectral ranges.

While visible light can be directed around a room using mirrors and lenses, such tools, especially adjustable ones, cannot be used with UV and X-ray beams. The modulator is the first that allows researchers to control X-ray beams.

It is highly effective, it can be programmed and adjusted to a wide spectrum of wave-lengths, which makes it promising for a wide array of scientific and technological applications. Most encouraging is its potential use in production of complex electronic chips with nanometre-sized elements.

Researchers from the JSI were Dragan Mihailović, who led the research project, Yevhenii Vaskivsyi, Anže Mraz, Rok Venturini and Gregor Jecl. They published their findings in an article in Nature Photonics with their Italian colleagues, the JSI said.