From SLAC Lab: “Producing X-ray Laser Pulses in Two Colors”

March 26, 2013
Glenn Roberts Jr.

“SLAC researchers have demonstrated for the first time how to produce pairs of X-ray laser pulses in slightly different wavelengths, or colors, with finely adjustable intervals between them – a feat that will allow them to watch molecular motion as it unfolds and explore other ultrafast processes.

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Left to right: SLAC scientists Yuantao Ding, Alberto Lutman and Ryan Coffee, shown here at SLAC’s Main Control Center, participated in successful experiments that created two closely spaced X-ray pulses of slightly different X-ray wavelengths using a combination of separately tuned undulators and a magnetic chicane that serves to delay electron bunches from SLAC’s linac. (Credit: Matt Beardsley)

This technique, reported March 25 in Physical Review Letters, could open up a new realm of experiments at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), potentially revealing how bonds between atoms form, break and rearrange and how atoms absorb light on ultrafast time scales of less than 25 femtoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second. Each of the paired X-ray laser pulses can be tuned to study a specific element in atomic detail, and they can be timed to hit a sample nearly simultaneously.

‘The LCLS really is evolving faster than the science can keep up,” said Ryan Coffee, one of the lead authors on the paper. “This really showcases its amazing flexibility.'”

See the full article here.

SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.

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