Prof. Chris Jacobsen

Prof. Chris Jacobsen

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Imaging Core Group Member, External LINXS Fellow

Prof. Jacobsen is the head of the X-ray Science Division at the Argonne National Laboratory and a Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University. With his team, he is focused on developing new methods in x-ray microscopy, and applying them to interesting problems in biology, environmental science, and materials science.

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Chris Jacobsen's research group is focused on developing new methods in x-ray microscopy, and applying them to interesting problems in biology, environmental science, and materials science.  Using either diffractive optics (like Fresnel zone plates fabricated using electron beam lithography) - or lensless methods where iterative phase retrieval methods are used to reconstruct an image from a coherent diffraction pattern - images with a spatial resolution of 30 nm or better can be obtained.  In absorption contrast methods, one can combine imaging with spectroscopy to study chemical speciation at the nanoscale, or one can use fluorescence detection to study trace element distributions with parts-per-billion sensitivity.

The group is also developing detectors and image reconstruction algorithms that can be used to obtain quantitative phase contrast images with hard X-rays, and thus put elemental distributions into their ultrastructural context and also go from measurements of content to measurements of concentration (since concentration gradients drive chemical processes).  Finally, the group is also interested in understanding the limitations that radiation damage presents to X-ray microscopy studies, and in developing both cryo instrumentation and sample preparation methods to mitigate those limitations.  These efforts require bright X-ray beams, so the group uses synchrotron radiation sources at Argonne Lab, Berkeley Lab, and elsewhere.  Students in the group explore interesting problems in optical physics and in instrumentation, and get to broaden their perspective by working with collaborators from other research fields like biology, environmental science, and materials science.

Fellowships and awards

2016 - Argonne Distinguished Fellow
2001 - Kurt Heinrich Award (Micro beam Analysis Society)
1999 - R&D 100 award winner, 1999
1996 - International Dennis Gabor Award (Hungary)
1992-1997 Presidential Faculty Fellow (White House/NSF)
2011 - American Physical Society,
2002 - American Association for the Advancement of Science
1999 - Optical Society of America