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Donald H. Bilderback

  • Donald H. Bilderback
  • Dept: Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Title: Research Associate
  • Address: 282 Wilson Laboratory
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After receiving his doctorate in physics, Bilderback joined Cornell's Materials Science Center (MSC) in 1975 as research manager of the X-Ray Laboratory. His achievements there included the invention of the real-time back-reflection Laue camera to simplify the x-ray orientation of single crystals [see ( Afterwards he helped design and operate the Synchrotron Radiation Labora­tory for the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS). Bilderback is a member of the American Crystallographic Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society. He has often served on the program committee for the National Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Research. He serves as a consultant to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France and to the Advanced Photon Source in Argonne, Illinois. He is also a member of the Photon Science Committee for the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY and for the Nanoprobe Beam-line Advisory Committee at the National Synchrotron Light Source II at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. He is currently the Cornell University correspondent for Synchrotron Radiation News and is Co-editor of World Publishing Co book series on Synchrotron Radiation. In 1993, he was a co-winner of an R&D 100 Award, in recognition of the development of tapered capillaries for producing micron-sized x-ray beams. Bilderback was the 1998 Compton Award co-winner for the development of cryogenic optics for 3rd generation storage rings. In 2001 he received a Distinguished Alumnus in Science award from Purdue University and in received the 2002 Seattle Pacific University Medallion award (alumnus in science award).

Research Interests

I work as an experimentalist in the use of x-rays to explore the atomic nature of matter using such techniques as x-ray diffraction, x-ray reflectivity and x-ray absorption and emission. My contributions to the emerging field of x-ray optics include the development of the first transmission x-ray mirror and various x-ray focusing systems made from total-reflection x-ray mirrors, multilayers, or Bragg crystals. I am also a developer of synchrotron x-ray sources and their associated microbeam and nanobeam technologies. Currently, we are designing and prototyping an Energy Recovery Linac source of x-rays ( that will surpass all the current generations of storage rings in producing high spectral brightness and the smallest x-ray nanobeams for research. We are on a quest to make a 1 nm diameter nanobeam at an x-ray energy of 10 keV (about a 1 Angstrom wavelength). Over the years, I have worked to better ways to cool silicon monochromator crystals with microgroove cooling channels built into the optics - and this quest lead to the discovery that cryogenically-cooling silicon optics has tremendous benefits. Thus many of the first monochromator elements at synchrotron laboratories are cryo-cooled as a result. I am also helping to develop x-ray-sensitive CCD area detectors with many megapixels to improve diffraction-pattern images with the Gruner group in Physics. I also maintain a capillary optics group effort to make microbeams of x-rays by squeezing them to micron dimensions with hollow tapered glass capillaries. Our group continues to explore the application of such tiny x-ray beams to the study of thin polymer fibers, single protein crystals, works of art history and antiquity, and polycrystalline samples of interest to materials science, etc. A good summary of most of the this work is now contained in the PhD thesis of Sterling Cornaby (PhD in AEP in 2008) titled "Handbook of X-ray Single-bounce Monocapillary Optics".


Selected Publications

  • Bilderback , Don, B. Dunham, G. Hoffstaetter, A. Temnykh, S Gruner. 2010. "The Cornell Energy Recovery Linac: update on a future source of coherent hard x-rays." Chess News Magazine 12: 5.
  • Cornaby, Sterling, Doletha M.E. Szebenyi, Detlef-M Smilgies, David J. Schuller, Richard Gillilan, Quan Hao, Don Bilderback. 2010. "Feasibility of one-shot-per-crystal structure determination using Laue diffraction." Acta Crystallographia 66 (1): 2-11.
  • Gillian , R. E., S. W. Cook, Sterling W. Cornaby, Don Bilderback. 2010. "Microcrystallography using single-bounce monocapillary optics." Journal of synchrotron radiation 17: 227-236.
  • Bilderback , Don, Joel Donald Brock. 2010. "Energy recovery linac (ERL) coherent hard x-ray sources." New journal of physics 12 (3): 035011.
  • Cornaby, Sterling W., T. Szebenyi, Heung-Soo Lee, Don Bilderback. 2009. "Advances in X-ray Microfocusing with Monocapillary Optics at CHESS." Chess News Magazine 63-66.