Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Tabletop Source Of Concentrated X-Rays Built

Date:
June 4, 1998
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Michigan's Center for Ultrafast Optical Sciences have built the first table-top laser capable of generating a coherent beam of X-rays. The work could give chemists a close-up view of the dynamics of atoms during reactions with other atoms, and open a real-time window for biologists onto microscopic events at the cellular level.

ANN ARBOR---Researchers at the University of Michigan's Center for Ultrafast Optical Sciences have built the first table-top laser capable of generating a coherent beam of X-rays.

Related Articles


The work could give chemists a close-up view of the dynamics of atoms during reactions with other atoms, and open a real-time window for biologists onto microscopic events at the cellular level. It appears in the May 29 issue of the journal Science, along with an accompanying news article.

By shooting a rapidly pulsing laser through a hollow glass tube filled with gas and controlling the pressure of that gas, the team---including Andy Rundquist, Charles Durfee, and electrical engineering professors Henry Kapteyn and Margaret Murnane and colleagues---were able to generate a focused beam of X-rays that could be incorporated into a device for atomic-scale imaging.

Although it has long been possible to generate X-rays with lasers, this is the first time scientists have been able to dramatically increase their efficiency to make them useful for applications, such as imaging, Murnane said. Moreover, whereas traditional lasers emit visible and near-infrared light (with wavelengths in the 500-1000 nanometer range), those from the U-M device are about 20nm, with the possibility of being as short as 2nm. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the spatial resolution of the beam.

Another benefit of this new device is that the X-ray pulse duration is extremely short, enabling high temporal resolution imaging as well. In other words, the X-rays can be used as the world's fastest strobe light, making anything moving slower appear to be frozen in time.

The U-M device consists of a hollow glass tube filled with gas, sandwiched between a laser source and a detector. When the intense light passes through the gas, electrons---the negatively charged particles swarming around atoms---are pulled away from the atoms, then slammed back when the field reverses direction. The electron then can give off its energy in the form of an X-ray photon, the particle form of X-ray light. This X-ray light can be amplified by 100-1,000 times by propagating through the hollow fiber at the same speed as the laser.

A major hurdle for earlier attempts at such a setup was that the X-rays tended to cancel each other out, much like overlapping water waves neutralize each other if their peaks and troughs coincide. The canceled waves produce very dim, diffuse X-ray patterns on the detector. But by adjusting the pressure of the gas in the fiber optic to fine-tune the laser's speed, the U-M scientists managed to keep the X-ray peaks properly matched, so that the beam amplified itself and remained "in phase" with the laser as it passed through the tube.

Kapteyn said the most exciting part of the work was that it demonstrated that any researcher with a short-pulse laser could use this technique to improve their view of chemical and biological processes.

The Center for Ultrafast Optical Sciences is one of the world's premier research facilities for high-speed lasers. U-M engineers and physicists at CUOS are working on some of the most advanced laser technologies available today, including femtosecond lasers, which generate the shortest, most intense bursts of energy yet produced.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "First Tabletop Source Of Concentrated X-Rays Built." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980604071713.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (1998, June 4). First Tabletop Source Of Concentrated X-Rays Built. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980604071713.htm
University Of Michigan. "First Tabletop Source Of Concentrated X-Rays Built." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/06/980604071713.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) China and "one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and hea Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Five minivans were put to the test in head-on crash simulations by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
DARPA Creates The Tech You Can Only Dream Of

DARPA Creates The Tech You Can Only Dream Of

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Curious what a rocket-dodging car would look like? How about a robotic pack mule? Or maybe a wearable robot? These are a few of DARPA's projects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins