A employee cleans the synchrotron optics x-ray mirror
Synchrotron Optics

Brilliant optics for research

High-performance beam guidance and beamforming

ZEISS has been equipping research institutes worldwide with precise synchrotron optics and X-ray gratings for over 30 years. For structural analysis and use in monochromators. For basic research in physics, biology and materials science. For a wealth of priceless information. For researchers every day.

  • Mirror in lengths of up to 1,500 mm
  • A wide range of possible materials
  • Customized production

Mirrors and gratings of the highest optical quality

Synchrotron optics and X-ray gratings from ZEISS SMT

  • 1.500 mm

    Mirror in up to approx. 1,500 x 200 x 100 mm²

  • <50 nrad

    Slope error <50 nrad on plane mirrors up to approx. 200 mm in length

  • <0,15 nm

    Roughness below 0.15 nm RMS on plane mirrors up to 700 mm in length

Synchrotron radiation in research

Synchrotron radiation at ZEISS SMT

Source:  www.diamond.ac.uk

New opportunities

Synchrotron radiation is a powerful tool for basic research and applied sciences. The increasing interest in this area is reflected not least in the increasing number of large synchrotron radiation laboratories worldwide. New generations of synchrotron radiation sources with higher energy density, such as free-electron lasers (FEL), open up new possibilities.

Structure of a snychrotron with a view into the interior and structure

Source:  EPSIM 3D/JF Santarelli, Synchrotron Soleil

What is “Synchrotron Radiation”?

It is an electromagnetic radiation used in technology and science for the study of the structure of various materials. The advantage over other methods is that synchrotron radiation can generate a particularly high intensity light (brilliance) – i.e. an optimal bundling of the electromagnetic beam. ZEISS SMT makes a decisive contribution to this with its synchrotron and Kirckpatrick Baez optics.

Particle accelerators visible in their entirety

Particle and ring accelerators

Synchrotron is a term used to describe certain types of particle accelerators. In them, a magnetic field (for routing the particles) and an electric field (for acceleration) are exactly synchronized with the moving particle bundles. They are classified as ring accelerators. In them, elementary particles, ions or molecules are accelerated to very high speeds close to the speed of light.

Brilliant research thanks to ZEISS

Mirrors and gratings for synchrotrons

A employee works on Synchrotrin optics

Your reliable partner

ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SMT) is your reliable partner for the production of X-ray optics for use in synchrotrons and free-electron lasers (FEL). We produce optical components and modules of the highest quality for synchrotron radiation and other X-ray applications, as well as gratings for use in X-ray light.

  • Prduct picrure of synchrotron optics from ZEISS SMT
    Prduct picrure of synchrotron optics from ZEISS SMT

    Geometrical optics

    The spectrum is extremely broad and ranges from basic geometries (planar, spherical, cylindrical, toroidal) to conical sections (parabolic and elliptical), combined surface geometries and free-form surfaces. Emitters with higher brilliance and beam power place increasingly higher demands on beamline optics.

  • Machining of Synchrotron at ZEISS SMT

    The right material

    The mirror substrate determines the specific properties of the optics. Good optical machinability, long-term stability, high heat resistance and compatibility in ultra-high vacuum (UHV) are crucial. Due to its high thermal conductivity, low degradation and good availability, ZEISS SMT mainly manufactures optics from monocrystalline silicon. Glass or ceramic are also possible.

  • A mirror from ZEISS SMT is being polished

    Perfectly polished

    Perfect polishing is a basic requirement for producing mirrors and grating substrates of the very highest quality that direct and focus radiation. On mirrors for synchrotron optics, ZEISS SMT achieves shape accuracies of less than 100 nrad (RMS) for strongly deformed aspherical components and surface qualities of less than 50 nrad (RMS) for plane mirrors.

  • A ZEISS SMT employee observes the measurement process very closely

    Measured with ultra-precision

    ZEISS SMT offers all common measurement methods for the analysis and qualification of optical systems: Interferometry, 3D profilometry (CMM), microinterferometry and AFM analysis. They can be used flexibly according to customer requirements.


  • Product image of a coating laboratory

    Finished with a coating

    Synergies between the various ZEISS coating laboratories and their experience enable a wide range of coatings. Standards include all metal coatings such as gold (Au), platinum (Pt), rhodium (Rh), ruthenium (Ru), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), as well as organic coatings of carbon (C), boron carbide (B4C) or silicon carbide (SiC).


  • Mirrors for Synchrotron Radiation

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Synchrotron optics are optics that are used in a synchrotron (particle and ring accelerator). They are used for beam shaping - usually for X-rays under grazing incidence.
    In many cases, the angle of incidence of the radiation is below 1°. This results in a characteristic very long and narrow geometry. Synchrotron and X-ray optics are commonly made of monocrystalline silicon, and more rarely of technical glass or ceramics.

  • The main applications of synchrotron and X-ray optics are accelerator-based light sources, such as synchrotrons and free-electron lasers (FEL). ZEISS optics serve as tools for the beam guidance from the source towards the experiment. Depending on the surface geometry, ZEISS optics serve as beam-collimators, beam expanders or as ordinary flat reflectors.

  • A synchrotron is a large-scale research facility, which is used to generate broadband electromagnetic radiation (“light”). This makes it a light source, which emits infrared and visible light, as well as EUV or X-ray radiation. The particle accelerator is primarily used in basic research to investigate physical and chemical relationships.
    For this purpose, electrically charged particles (electrons) are accelerated to almost the speed of light in the synchrotron. By deflecting these particles, electromagnetic radiation is emitted: Synchrotron radiation.

Anything is imaginable – a lot is possible

With decades of experience in the field of synchrotron optics and X-ray gratings, ZEISS SMT is now one of the world's leading manufacturers of optical goods. Continuous progress in manufacturing processes, measurement technology and coating offers our customers state-of-the-art products – for optimum beam guidance. With powerful and high-precision measurement and manufacturing techniques, we are able to offer optical components of the highest quality and to explore the limits of optical tolerances time and time again. Feel free to contact our experts.