Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Gives Clues for Unleashing the Power of X-rays

17.06.2009
Three-dimensional, real-time X-ray images of patients could be closer to reality because of research recently completed by scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a pair of Russian institutes.

In a paper to be published in an upcoming edition of Physical Review Letters, UNL Physics and Astronomy Professor Anthony Starace and his colleagues give scientists important clues into how to unleash coherent, high-powered X-rays.

“This could be a contributor to a number of innovations,” Starace said.

Starace's work focuses on a process called high-harmonic generation, or HHG. X-ray radiation can be created by focusing an optical laser into atoms of gaseous elements – usually low-electron types such as hydrogen, helium, or neon. HHG is the process that creates the energetic X-rays when the laser light interacts with those atoms’ electrons, causing the electrons to vibrate rapidly and emit X-rays.

But the problem with HHG has been around almost as long as the onset of the method in 1988: The X-ray light produced by the atoms is very weak. In an effort to make the X-rays more powerful, scientists have attempted using higher-powered lasers on the electrons, but success has been limited.

“Using longer wavelength lasers is another way to increase the energy output of the atoms,” Starace said. “The problem is, the intensity of the radiation (the atoms) produce drops very quickly.”

Instead of focusing on low-electron atoms like hydrogen and helium, Starace’s group applied HHG theory to heavier (and more rare) gaseous atoms having many electrons – elements such as xenon, argon and krypton. They discovered that the process would unleash high-energy X-rays with relatively high intensity by using longer wavelength lasers (with wavelengths within certain atom-specific ranges) that happen to drive collective electron oscillations of the many-electron atoms.

“If you use these rare gases and shine a laser in on them, they’ll emit X-Rays with an intensity that is much, much stronger (than with the simple atoms),” Starace said. “The atomic structure matters.”

Starace said that unlocking the high-powered X-rays could lead one day, for example, to more powerful and precise X-ray machines. For instance, he said, heart doctors might conduct an exam by scanning a patient and creating a 3D hologram of his or her heart, beating in real time.

Nanoscientists, who study the control of matter on an atomic or molecular scale, also may benefit from this finding, Starace said. Someday, the high-intensity X-rays may be used to make 3D images of the microscopic structures with which nanoscientists work.

“With nanotechnology, miniaturization is the order of the day,” he said. “But nanoscientists obviously could make use of a method to make the structures they’re building and working with more easily visible.”

The work is sponsored through funding by the National Science Foundation. Starace said NSF’s sponsorship made the collaboration with his Russian colleagues – Mikhail V. Frolov, N.L. Manakov and T.S. Sarantseva of Voronezh State University, and M.Y. Emelin and M.Y. Ryabikin of the Russian Academy of Sciences – possible.

Frolov worked with Starace at UNL from 2002-2004 when he was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He has returned to Lincoln a number of times to collaborate with Starace on the HHG research. Frolov is a Ph.D. student of Professor Nikolai Manakov, with whom Starace has had a decade-long research collaboration that was initiated with support from NSF. Manakov also is an Adjunct Professor in UNL's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Steve Smith | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.unl.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope
13.12.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

nachricht Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure
13.12.2017 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>