Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Shortest-pulse X-ray beams could illuminate atomic, molecular interactions

16.11.2010
Ultra-short X-ray beams produced at the University of Michigan could one day serve as more sensitive medical diagnostic tools, and they could work like strobe lights to allow researchers to observe chemical reactions that happen in quadrillionths of a second.

The researchers used the HERCULES high-intensity, table-top laser to create X-ray beams that rival those made in expensive and massive synchrotron particle accelerators. The National Synchrotron Light Source II, for example, under construction at Brookhaven National Laboratory, is slated to be a half-mile long. It's expected to cost more than $900 million.

Researchers at Imperial College London and Instituto Superior Téchnico Lisbon collaborated with U-M on this research, which is published online in Nature Physics and will appear in a forthcoming print edition.

A composite image of x-ray radiographs of a damsel fly imaged with the new tabletop ultrashort X-ray beam source built at the University of Michigan. Credit: Christopher McGuffy Click above image for higher resolution

"The development of accelerators and light sources has led to these very large systems and facilities that can only be accessed with a lot of preparation, by a few researchers," said Chris McGuffey, a doctoral student in the U-M Department of Nuclear Energy and Radiological Sciences. "We're bringing them to the university budget and university-scale laboratories. We expect this to open up more research possibilities."

Throughout history, X-ray machines have opened new frontiers in science, the researchers say. Earlier generations illuminated the structure of DNA and brought the first radiographs, which enabled imaging the human body. These newest developments are expected to allow researchers to measure and observe never-before-seen femtosecond atomic and molecular interactions.

"Our findings show that it is possible to use lasers to produce an X-ray source for potential medical applications which is much more compact than conventional ones," said Karl Krushelnick, associate director of the U-M Center for Ultrafast Optical Science.

"This X-ray source also has the unique property that it is emitted in pulses that have an ultra-short duration so that so it can be used in science to measure processes with unprecendented temporal resolution."

At 10 femtoseconds, or 10 quadrillionths of a second, the new beams are the shortest-pulse X-ray beams every created, McGuffey said.

Scientists and engineers have been trying to coax lasers to generate these bright, pointed X-ray beams for some time, McGuffey said.

"The field has been focusing a lot on making good electron beams so that we could use those to make X-ray beams. It turns out the electron beams are already plenty good enough. The X-rays have been there all along, but no one knew to look for them," McGuffey said.

Experiments were conducted at the U-M Center for Ultrafast Optical Science. The paper is titled "Bright spatially-coherent synchrotron X-rays from a table-top source." This research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security.

Michigan Engineering:
The University of Michigan College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the country. At $180 million annually, its engineering research budget is one of largest of any public university. Michigan Engineering is home to 11 academic departments, numerous research centers and expansive entrepreneurial programs. The College plays a leading role in the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and hosts the world-class Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. Michigan Engineering's premier scholarship, international scale and multidisciplinary scope combine to create The Michigan Difference.
Contact: Nicole Casal Moore
Phone: (734) 647-7087

Nicole Casal Moore | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

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: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>