MESA+ University of Twente
Industrial focus group XUV Optics


Master assignment

In-house grazing incidence X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy

Contact: dr. Igor Makhotkin (

In many fields of modern research scientists are dealing with thin films. No matter what field is explored, whether it is connected to optical coatings, thermoelectric, magnetic materials or bio-membranes, for understanding the thin film functional characteristics it is of vital importance to be able to characterise their internal structure. Apart from academic research, thin film characterization is also widely explored by industrial R&D departments for development of new products or quality control of production lines.

For characterization of the internal structure of thin films, X-ray based techniques are preferred because they are non-destructive and relatively simple. We are currently planning to equip our in-lab X-ray reflectivity setup with a X-ray fluorescence detector for combined measurement of X-ray reflectivity and X-ray fluorescence signals, a unique combination of experimental techniques that allows access to both (electron) density and atomic concentration profiles of thin films. Part of the assignment will be, together with scientist of the XUV lab and industrial partner, to integrate a fluorescence detector into the currently available X-ray reflectometer and perform and analyse the first combined measurements.

As in many other X-ray metrology techniques, the reconstruction of the internal structure of a sample is not a straightforward task. Recently we have develop a fast and efficient way to analyse x-ray data measured from periodic layered structures. The next step in analysis is to develop a robust algorithm for the analysis of thin aperiodic films and this will be part of the assignment.