Ultrahigh-reflectance mirrors are essential optical elements of the most sophisticated optical instruments devised over the entire frequency spectrum. In the X-ray regime, super-polished mirrors with close to 100% reflectivity are routinely used at grazing angles of incidence. However, at large angles of incidence, and particularly at normal incidence, such high reflectivity has not yet been achieved. Here, we demonstrate by direct measurements that synthetic, nearly defect-free diamond crystals reflect more than 99% of hard X-ray photons backwards in Bragg diffraction, with a remarkably small variation in magnitude across the sample. This is a quantum leap in the largest reflectivity measured to date, which is at the limit of what is theoretically possible. This accomplishment is achieved under the most challenging conditions of normal incidence and with extremely hard X-ray photons.
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