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 Further Improvement of Qubit Lifetime for Quantum Computers
09.12.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich

nachricht Electron highway inside crystal
09.12.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>