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Observation of speckle by diffraction with coherent X-rays

Naturevolume 352pages608610 (1991) | Download Citation



REFLECTED light from a coherent light source such as a laser shows a graininess known as speckle. In general, a speckle pattern is produced whenever randomly distributed regions of a material introduce different phase shifts into the scattering of coherent incident light. If the arrangement of the regions evolves with time, the speckle pattern will also change. Observation of the intensity fluctuations at a single point in the speckle pattern provides a direct measure of the time correlation function of the inhomogeneity. This leads to a technique1,2, alternatively called light-beating spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering or intensity fluctuation spectroscopy, which has been widely used with visible light to study processes such as critical fluctuations near phase transitions in fluids and the diffusion of particles in liquids. But it is not possible to study processes involving length scales less than about 200 nm, or those in opaque materials, using visible light. If intensity fluctuation spectroscopy could be carried out using coherent X-rays, however, one could probe the dynamics of processes involving atomic length scales in a wide range of materials. Here we show that by using a high-brilliance X-ray source it should be possible to perform this type of measurement using radiation of wavelength 0.15nm. Specifically, we have observed a speckle pattern in the diffraction of coherent X-rays from randomly arranged antiphase domains in a single crystal of the binary alloy Cu3Au.

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  1. Department of Physics, Centre for the Physics of Materials, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2T8

    • M. Sutton
  2. Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139, USA

    • S. G. J. Mochrie
    •  & T. Greytak
  3. Department of Physics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 32611, USA

    • S. E. Nagler
  4. National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, 11973, USA

    • L. E. Berman
  5. IBM Research Division, Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, 10598, USA

    • G. A. Held
    •  & G. B. Stephenson


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