Transmuting Light Into X-rays

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  29 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5368, pp. 1348
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5368.1348a

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Physicists can generate photons in the x-ray range by using a process called harmonic conversion, in which a laser beam is passed through a gas. But it is horribly inefficient, in part because some of the x-rays generated are out of phase and tend to cancel each other out. Now, on page 1412, researchers report using a precisely machined glass tube as a "waveguide" to equalize the speed of the laser light and the x-rays in the gas, which results in a more coherent x-ray beam. The new technique could ultimately give researchers the ability to peer into living cells or catch the swift dances of molecules during a chemical reaction.