08 January 2019 Proof of Concept Grant

ERC Funding to develop a miniaturized coherent soft X-ray source for research and industry The European Research Council, in its efforts to help ERC grant-holders to bridge the gap between their research and the earliest stage of a marketable innovation, created the Proof of Concept (PoC) funding scheme for researchers who have already been awarded an ERC grant. Not only does this program help ERC grantees to explore the innovation potential of their research and/or commercialize the results of their ERC-funded research, the program complements the efforts of ICFO’s Knowledge and Technology Transfer Unit (KTT), which proactively searches for ways to translate newly generated knowledge into new technologies.

ICREA Prof at ICFO Dr Jens Biegert has been awarded a PoC, the tenth award of this kind for ICFO in the past seven years, for the project titled miniX. The main goal of of this project is to develop a miniaturized coherent soft X-ray source for research and industry.

X-rays are a prime analytical tool across a diverse range of areas in our modern economy—from fundamental physics and chemistry research, to the pharmaceutical and semiconductor industries. In particular, sources of ultrafast coherent x-rays are expected to have a transformative impact in all of these areas due to their capacity to enable the study of interactions between charge carriers and atoms in gases, liquids and solids, in real-time, and with element specificity. Ease of use, compactness and price will prove vital for any new X-ray technology looking to find use in industrial applications. “miniX” will address all of these issues with the miniaturization of a laser-based soft x-ray source, designed for lay user operation and at low cost. The project draws from the pioneering development of table-top attosecond soft x-ray technology by the Attoscience and Ultrafast Optics group led by Prof. Biegert, and targets a drastic simplification and footprint-reduction.