01-25-12, 04:43 PM #1
World's most powerful x-ray laser did what?
Sounds pretty crazy, but researchers used the most powerful x-ray laser to create and probe a 2 million degree piece of matter.
More stuff on it here:
Scientists use the most powerful x-ray laser scan and probe solid plasma
01-29-12, 03:04 PM #2
The Mother of All Microscopes
This laser isn't just powerful and it doesn't just emit coherent X-rays. (That's amazing enough.) It's also fast. Really, really fast.
Here's something that Stanford University's Applied Physics department was saying about Ultrafast Science on a 2009 page that no longer exists. It's so incredibly cool that I'll quote parts of it now. The blue highlighting is by me.
Ultrafast: Femtoscience: Atoms in a molecule or a solid move very quickly. The primary atomic motions involved in vision, or photosynthesis, or melting, all take less than a picosecond. Ultrafast lasers can more than keep up with this, so lasers can act like strobe lights with ultrafast shutter speeds to freeze atomic motion. Much physics and chemistry research is devoted to these kinds of ultrafast observations, in the femtosecond range.
Shorter still: Attoscience: The shortest laser pulses are now less that one thousandth of a picosecond, in the sub-femtosecond range. At these extreme shutter speeds, the laser pulses can begin to capture the motion of electrons within atoms. Such pulses must have sub-optical wavelengths, since the pulse duration is less than a single cycle of visible radiation. This attosecond vacuum ultraviolet coherent radiation has recently been produced through atomic nonlinear processes, and it may soon give us our first images of electrons moving in molecules.
Ultrafast control: Ultrafast laser pulses can do more than just detect atomic motion. They can also be used to control basic quantum processes in atoms and molecules. Ultrafast quantum control research uses pulse shaping techniques to create new optical waveforms that can enhance light-induced processes, or even direct photochemical reactions along new paths. The optimal field may not be obvious, but programmable pulse shapers can use clues from the photochemical process itself to evolve new optical field shapes. In this way, the molecule teaches the laser how to perform an atomic-level task.
They say (blue highlighting by me)...
Why is the LCLS so special?
Simply put, LCLS is the first tool in human history capable of producing light with a wavelength on the scale of atomic length, field strength, and time. For the first time we will be able to "see" quantum processes on the atomic scale.
Our challenge is to make this happen.
LCLS isn't exactly your old tabletop microscope. It's two miles long! It's the old SLAC linear accelerator, that as we speak is being reconstructed into the mother of all X-ray laser microscopes.
Here's a photograph of just one small part of it (the "undulators" that make the electron beam cough up coherent x-rays):
Here's an overview of the whole operation:
Last edited by Yazata; 01-29-12 at 03:22 PM.
01-29-12, 07:03 PM #3
Just think that when a sun explodes it creates over 100 million degrees F of heat!
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