MIT Kavli Institute Directory

Ralf K. Heilmann

Associate Director, Space Nanotechnology Laboratory Principal Research Scientist

Ralf Heilmann is a Principal Research Scientist at MKI and the Associate Director of the Space Nanotechnology Laboratory.  His main interests are in the areas of x-ray and EUV optics, (with current emphasis on advanced diffraction gratings for space-based instruments and alternative methods for shaping light-weight x-ray mirrors), micro- and nanofabrication, advanced interference and optical lithography, and nanometrology.

He received his Diplom in physics from the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) with a thesis on Monte-Carlo simulations of a statistical spin system.  He received his M.S. and his Ph.D. in physics from Carnegie Mellon University for his x-ray scattering studies of the growth dynamics of thin noble gas films.

Before joining MIT he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, where he conducted research on the structure of Langmuir monolayers and liquid surfaces and interfaces via x-ray scattering at the National Synchrotron Light Source (Brookhaven National Laboratory).

Representative publications: 
  1. R. K. Heilmann, M. Ahn, A. Bruccoleri, C.-H. Chang, E. M. Gullikson, P. Mukherjee, and M. L. Schattenburg
    Diffraction Efficiency of 200 nm Period Critical-Angle Transmission Gratings in the Soft X-Ray and Extreme Ultraviolet Wavelength Bands
    Appl. Opt. 50, 1364-1373 (2011).
  1. R. K. Heilmann et al.,
    Critical-Angle Transmission Grating Spectrometer for High-Resolution Soft X-Ray Spectroscopy on the International X-Ray Observatory
    Proc. SPIE 7732, 77321J (2010).
  1. R. K. Heilmann, M. Ahn, E. M. Gullikson, and M. L. Schattenburg
    Blazed High-Efficiency X-Ray Diffraction via Transmission through Arrays of Nanometer-Scale Mirrors
    Opt. Express 16, 8658 (2008).
  1. M. Ahn, R. K. Heilmann, and M. L. Schattenburg
    Fabrication of Ultrahigh Aspect Ratio Freestanding Gratings on Silicon-on-Insulator Wafers
    J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 25, 2593 (2007).
  1. J. F. Seely et al.,
    Efficiency of a Grazing Incidence Off-Plane Grating in the Soft X-Ray Region
    Appl. Opt. 45, 1680 (2006).
  1. R. K. Heilmann, C. G. Chen, P. T. Konkola, and M. L. Schattenburg
    Dimensional Metrology for Nanometer-Scale Science and Engineering: Towards Sub-Nanometer Accurate Encoders
    Nanotechnology 15, S504 (2004).
  1. R. K. Heilmann, M. Fukuto, and P. S. Pershan
    Quenching of Capillary Waves in Composite Wetting Films from a Binary Vapor: An X-Ray Reflectivity Study
    Phys. Rev. B 63, 205405 (2001).
  1. R. K. Heilmann and R. M. Suter
    In situ Specular and Diffuse X-ray Reflectivity Study of Growth Dynamics in Quench-Condensed Xenon Films
    Phys. Rev. B 59, 3075 (1999).

Contact Information

t: 617-253-8764


Diplom (physics), Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (1991); M.S. (physics), Carnegie Mellon University (1993); Ph.D. (physics), Carnegie Mellon University (1996)