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Astronomy (communication Arising)

Black holes, fleas and microlithography


Fresnel lenses allow almost perfect imaging in widely different circumstances, but their focus is perfect only for a single wavelength. Wang et al.1 have shown how the effective bandpass may be widened for X-ray microscopy by using a compound diffractive/refractive lens near to an absorption edge. A compound lens has also been proposed for high-energy astronomy, working well above all absorption edges2,3. Although the scale is very different, we point out here that the principle is the same. Ever since Galileo constructed an astronomical telescope that he was able to reconfigure to study fleas and gnats, astronomy and microscopy have relied on optics that are closely related, but different in detail.

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Figure 1: An achromatic refractive/diffractive lens.

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Correspondence to Gerry Skinner.

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Skinner, G., Gorenstein, P. Black holes, fleas and microlithography. Nature 426, 245–246 (2003).

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