Tunable Isolated Attosecond X-ray Pulses with Gigawatt Peak Power from a Free-Electron Laser

Published on (GMT) by James Cryan
The quantum mechanical motion of electrons in molecules and solids occurs on the sub-femtosecond timescale. Consequently, the study of ultrafast electronic phenomena requires the generation of laser pulses shorter than 1 fs and of sufficient intensity to interact with their target with high probability. Probing these dynamics with atomic-site specificity requires the extension of sub-femtosecond pulses to the soft X-ray spectral region. Here we report the generation of isolated GW-scale soft X-ray attosecond pulses with an X-ray free-electron laser. Our source has a pulse energy that is six orders of magnitude larger than any other source of isolated attosecond pulses in the soft X-ray spectral region, with a peak power in the tens of gigawatts. This unique combination of high intensity, high photon energy and short pulse duration enables the investigation of electron dynamics with X-ray non-linear spectroscopy and single-particle imaging.
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