Interlaced zone plates push the resolution limit in x-ray microscopy
Multi-keV X-ray microscopy has been particularly successful in bridging the resolution gap between optical and electron microscopy. However, resolutions below 20 nm are still considered challenging, as high throughput direct imaging methods are limited by the availability of suitable optical elements. In order to bridge this gap, researchers of the Paul Scherrer Institute developed a new type of Fresnel zone plate lenses aimed at the sub-20 and the sub-10 nm resolution range. By extending the concept of double-sided zone plate stacking, we demonstrate the doubling of the effective line density and thus the resolution and provide large aperture, single chip optical devices with 15 and 7 nm smallest zone widths. The detailed characterization of these lenses shows excellent optical properties with focal spots down to 7.8 nm. Beyond wave front characterization, the zone plates also excel in typical imaging scenarios, verifying their resolution close to their diffraction limited optical performance.