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

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier
29.05.2017 | University of Strathclyde

nachricht Camera on NASA's Lunar Orbiter survived 2014 meteoroid hit
29.05.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>