Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers Discover Technique to Kick a Record Number of Electrons Out of an Atom with an X-Ray Laser

Supercharging is a technique no longer confined to automotive enthusiasts.

Artem Rudenko, a new assistant professor of physics at Kansas State University and member of the James R. Macdonald Laboratory, was one of the principal investigators in an international physics collaboration that used the world's most powerful X-ray laser to supercharge an atom.

By stripping a record 36 electrons from a xenon atom, researchers were able to bring the atom to a high positively charged state thought to unachievable with X-ray energy.

The findings will help scientists create and study extreme new states of matter, such as highly charged plasma, by fine-tuning the laser's X-ray radiation wavelengths in resonance with atomic levels -- resulting in ultra-efficient electron removal.

Conversely, researchers can use the findings to tune the laser wavelength to avoid enhanced electron stripping. This will reduce damage caused by X-rays and help produce better quality images of nano-world objects.

"Taking single-shot, real-time images of viruses, proteins or even smaller objects is a long-standing dream that came close to reality with the advent of powerful X-ray laser like the Linac Coherent Light Source," Rudenko said. "The main problem, however, is that such a laser also inevitably destroys the sample in the process of acquiring an image, and reducing this destruction by any means is critical for producing high-quality images."

The study on supercharging was performed through a large international collaboration led by Daniel Rolles from Max Planck Advanced Study Group, or ASG, in Hamburg, Germany, along with Rudenko and Joachim Ullrich, now a president of the PTB, the German national metrology institute.

"We brought 11 tons of equipment funded by the German Max-Planck Society to LCLS, which is a unique 1.5 km-long X-ray laser operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy, and involved scientists from 19 research centers all over the world," Rudenko said. "We also needed to come back one year after our first experiment and repeat the measurements to understand the results. From all that we knew about this process we expected to strip at most 26 electrons, and it immediately became clear that the existing theoretical approaches have to be modified."

For the second leg of experiments physicists chose even higher X-ray energy -- and, surprisingly, saw fewer electrons kicked out of the atom. The key was that even though the energy was higher, it was not in resonance.

"While it is known that resonances in atoms affect their charged states, it was unclear what a dramatic effect this could have in heavy atoms like xenon under ultra-intense X-rays," Rudenko said. "Besides ejecting dozens of electrons, this more than doubled the energy absorbed per atom compared to all expectations."

Follow-up experiments led by Rudenko discovered similar effects in krypton atoms and several molecules.

The results were analyzed by Benedict Rudek from ASG Hamburg and reported in Nature Photonics journal in the article, "Ultra-efficient ionization of heavy atoms by intense X-ray free-electron laser pulses,"

For more information on the Linac Coherent Light Source, or LCLS, and the instrument used for the project, go to and

Artem Rudenko, 785-532-4470,

Artem Rudenko | Newswise Science News
Further information:

Further reports about: ASG Atom Coherent LCLS X-ray X-ray microscopy X-rays electrons laser system technique

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Laser-wielding physicists seize control of atoms' behavior
06.10.2015 | University of Chicago

nachricht Observing the Unobservable: Researchers Measure Electron Orbitals of Molecules in 3D
05.10.2015 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

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: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

Im Focus: Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions

New physical effect: researchers discover a change of electrical resistance in magnetic whirls

At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...

Im Focus: High-speed march through a layer of graphene

In cooperation with the Center for Nano-Optics of Georgia State University in Atlanta (USA), scientists of the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität have made simulations of the processes that happen when a layer of carbon atoms is irradiated with strong laser light.

Electrons hit by strong laser pulses change their location on ultrashort timescales, i.e. within a couple of attoseconds (1 as = 10 to the minus 18 sec). In...

Im Focus: Battery Production: Laser Light instead of Oven-Drying and Vacuum Technology

At the exhibition BATTERY + STORAGE as part of WORLD OF ENERGY SOLUTIONS 2015 in Stuttgart, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT and for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS will be showing how laser technology can be used to manufacture batteries both cost- and energy-efficiently.

In the truest sense, it’s all about watts at the Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS and the Aachen-based Fraunhofer...

Im Focus: New Sinumerik features improve productivity and precision

EMO 2015, Hall 3, Booth E06/F03

  • Drive optimization called automatically by the part program boosts productivity
  • Automatically switching the dynamic values to rapid traverse and interpolation...
All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Graphene teams up with two-dimensional crystals for faster data communications

06.10.2015 | Information Technology

Laser-wielding physicists seize control of atoms' behavior

06.10.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

Flipping molecular attachments amps up activity of CO2 catalyst

06.10.2015 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>