Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiniest Particles Shrink Before Exploding When Hit With SLAC's X-ray Laser

05.02.2016

Unanticipated Response to Intense Laser Light Has Broad Implications for Ultrafast X-ray Science.

Researchers assumed that tiny objects would instantly blow up when hit by extremely intense light from the world's most powerful X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the United States.


Copyright : SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

But to their astonishment, these nanoparticles initially shrank instead - a finding that provides a glimpse of the unusual world of superheated nanomaterials that could eventually also help scientists further develop X-ray techniques for taking atomic images of individual molecules.

The experiments took place at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Its pulses are so bright that they can be used to turn solids into highly ionized gases, or plasmas, that blow up within a fraction of a second.

Fortunately, for many samples researchers can take the data they need before the damage sets in - an approach that has been used to reveal never-before-seen details of a variety of samples relevant to chemistry, materials science, biology and energy research.

The ultimate limits of this approach are, however, not well understood. One of the key visions for X-ray laser science is to image individual, one-of-a-kind particles with single X-ray pulses. To do so in a quantitative manner, researchers need to understand precisely how each molecule responds to the intense X-ray light. The new study, published in Science Advances, provides an unexpected insight into this aspect.

"So far, all models have assumed that a very small system would immediately explode when we pump a lot of energy into it with the X-ray laser," says former LCLS researcher Christoph Bostedt, who is now at Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University. "But our experiments showed otherwise."

At LCLS, Bostedt and his fellow researchers exposed minuscule clusters of xenon atoms to two consecutive X-ray pulses. The clusters, which were merely three millionths of an inch across, were heated by the first pulse for 10 quadrillionths of a second, or 10 femtoseconds. The second pulse then probed the clusters' atomic structures over the next 80 femtoseconds.

"The unique nature of the LCLS X-ray pulse allowed us to create a freeze-frame movie of the response, with a resolution of about a tenth of the width of a single xenon atom," says LCLS and Stanford University graduate student Ken Ferguson, who led the data analysis. The researchers believe that the effect is a result of how electrons, which were initially localized around individual xenon atoms, redistribute over the entire cluster after the first X-ray pulse.

"This phenomenon had never been observed before, nor had it been predicted by any of the existing theories," he says. "We expect it to have implications for many ultrafast X-ray laser experiments, especially those geared toward single-particle imaging with very intense X-ray pulses."

The research could benefit studies in other areas as well, such as investigations of warm dense matter - a state of matter between a solid and a plasma that exists in the cores of certain planets and is also important in the pursuit of nuclear fusion with high-power lasers.

Other institutions involved in the study were Technical University of Berlin, Germany; Tohoku University, Japan; National Science Foundation BioXFEL Science and Technology Center, Buffalo; and Kyoto University, Japan.

This text and images for this release were provided by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Publication Details:
Authors: Ken R. Ferguson, Maximilian Bucher, Tais Gorkhover, Sébastien Boutet, Hironobu Fukuzawa, Jason E. Koglin, Yoshiaki Kumagai, Alberto Lutman, Agostino Marinelli, Marc Messerschmidt, Kiyonobu Nagaya, Jim Turner, Kiyoshi Ueda, Garth J. Williams, Philip H. Bucksbaum and Christoph Bostedt
Title: Transient lattice contraction in the solid-to-plasma transition
Journal: Science Advances 29 Jan 2016
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500837
About SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory:
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, Calif., SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

Contact:
Kiyoshi Ueda
Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials
University of Tohoku University
Email: uedatagen.tohoku.ac.jp

Associated links
Original article from Tohoku University

Ngaroma Riley | Research SEA
Further information:
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume
15.01.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

nachricht The universe up close
15.01.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

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: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

Novel 3-D printing technique yields high-performance composites

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations

16.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Fast-tracking T cell therapies with immune-mimicking biomaterials

16.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>