Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

1st Results from DESY’s New Free-Electron Laser

22.03.2006


The first measuring period for external users at the new X-ray radiation source VUV-FEL at DESY in Hamburg has been successfully concluded. Since its official startup in August 2005, a total of 14 research teams from ten countries have carried out first experiments using the facility’s intense laser beam. “Both the external researchers and the DESY team gained most valuable experience with the new machine,” DESY research director Professor Jochen Schneider comments. “As a worldwide unique pioneering facility for free-electron lasers for the generation of X-ray radiation, the VUV-FEL for example offers completely new possibilities to trace various processes on extremely short time scales. The currently made first studies verify that these X-ray sources of the future will open another fascinating window for research.”



The free-electron laser VUV-FEL is the worldwide first and until 2009 the only source of intense laser radiation in the ultraviolet and the soft X-ray range. The 300-meter-long facility at DESY generated laser flashes with a wavelength of 32 nanometers (billionths of a meter) for the first time in January 2005 – this is the shortest wavelength ever achieved with a free-electron laser. Since its official startup as a user facility in August 2005, the VUV-FEL has been at the disposal of research groups from all over the world for experiments in areas such as cluster physics, solid state physics, plasma research and biology. Four experimental stations are currently available, at which different instruments can be operated alternately.

“The VUV-FEL is an absolute novelty: for the first time, experiments with intense, pulsed laser radiation can now be carried out at these short wavelengths,” explains DESY physicist Josef Feldhaus, who is in charge of the coordination of the experiments at the VUV-FEL. “The researchers are thus venturing into completely uncharted terrain, of which nobody has any experience yet.” Most groups therefore came to Hamburg with newly constructed instruments that were specially designed to fit the unique properties of the VUV-FEL radiation. With great success: “Despite the complexity of the new experimental equipment and the teething troubles of a completely new radiation source that is not yet running stably on a routine basis, most of the groups were very satisfied. They went home with discs full of data, which they are now evaluating in detail.”


The experiments carried out during this first measuring period ranged from the generation and measurement of plasmas to studies of gases and clusters and to the first investigations of experimental methods for complex biomolecules, which will later be used at the European X-ray laser XFEL. As expected, the light flashes of the VUV-FEL are shorter than 50 femtoseconds (thousand million millionths of a second). This allowed several groups to trace various processes on extremely short time scales by taking time-resolved “snapshots” of the reaction process. The investigation of such time resolved processes with radiation of short wavelengths is one of the most important new applications that will be possible in the future with this kind of X-ray lasers.

Until user experiments resume in May 2006, the DESY team will now carry out machine studies to further improve the stability of the facility, increase the energy of the light pulses and further shorten the wavelength of the radiation to around 15 nanometers. During this time, various studies will also be done to prepare for the planned 3.4-kilometer-long European X-ray laser XFEL, which will generate even shorter wavelengths down to 0.085 nanometers and take up operation in Hamburg in 2013, as well as for the International Linear Collider ILC for particle physics. The shortest wavelength of 6 nanometers planned for the VUV-FEL will be reached after the installation of an additional accelerator module in 2007.

The free-electron laser VUV-FEL generates short-wavelength, intense laser light flashes according to the SASE principle of “self-amplified spontaneous emission”: in a first step, electrons are brought to high energies by a superconducting linear accelerator. They then race through a periodic arrangement of magnets, the so-called undulator, which forces them to follow a slalom course and thereby radiate flashes of light. Sophisticated beamlines then lead these laser flashes into the experimental hall, where they are distributed among the various measuring stations.

Petra Folkerts | alfa
Further information:
http://www.xfel.net/en/index.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms
25.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor
24.04.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>