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Focusing of X-rays to nanometre scale focal spots requires high precision X-ray optics. For nano-focusing mirrors, height errors in the mirror surface retard or advance the X-ray wavefront and after propagation to the focal plane, this distortion of the wavefront causes blurring of the focus resulting in a limit on the spatial resolution. We describe here the implementation of a method for correcting the wavefront that is applied before a focusing mirror using custom-designed refracting structures which locally cancel out the wavefront distortion from the mirror. We demonstrate in measurements on a synchrotron radiation beamline a reduction in the size of the focal spot of a characterized test mirror by a factor of greater than 10 times. This technique could be used to correct existing synchrotron beamline focusing and nanofocusing optics providing a highly stable wavefront with low distortion for obtaining smaller focus sizes. This method could also correct multilayer or focusing crystal optics allowing larger numerical apertures to be used in order to reduce the diffraction limited focal spot size.


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