A pair of Harvard University researchers have discovered a way to manipulate the direction of an x-ray beam, an advance that could someday lead to an improved x-ray laser. Normally, x-rays pass through ordinary optical lenses without bending, but Jene Golovchenko and Chien Liu bent a short-wavelength x-ray beam 13° by making it follow an 18-mm-long curved wall of polished silicon. Previously, scientists deflected x-ray beams by bouncing them off a grazing incidence mirror at a shallow angle or by channeling the beam through a thin layer of artificial crystal. Those techniques, however, deflected the beam only a few degrees.
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