Muradin Kumakhov, founder and director of the Institute for Roentgen Optics (IRO), died on 25 June.
Kumakhov was the namesake of "Kumakhov optics" -- also known as polycapillary optics. In 1991 the IRO was founded in Lausanne, Switzerland. At the time, the work being performed in Kumakhov's laboratory at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in Russia was the basis for the new institute. Several scientists from there joined IRO, as did graduates from Moscow State University.
Kumakhov developed and patented the idea of controlling the beams of neutral particles, x rays, and neutrons in the late 1980s. His approach used reflecting surfaces inside hollow glass capillaries. The first x-ray capillary lens was created in his lab in 1985, and the first neutron lens in 1987. From 1991 onward, the work continued at the IRO facilities in Switzerland and Russia. Researchers developed the theory of x-ray and neutron propagation in capillary optics. The wide range of devices designed there have applications from geology and mining to medicine, forensic science, and fundamental optics studies.
The IRO was the recipient of the SPIE Technology Achievement Award in 2002 for its accomplishments "in the development, fabrication, implementation, and reduction to practice of Kumakov x-ray and netutron capillary and polycapillary optics."
Kumakhov was named a Fellow of SPIE in 2006, and served on program committees for several SPIE conferences. He authored or coauthored more than 40 papers in SPIE Proceedings on x rays and polycapillary optics.