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Femtosecond synchrotron pulses were generated directly from an electron storage ring. An ultrashort laser pulse was used to modulate the energy of electrons within a 100-femtosecond slice of the stored 30-picosecond electron bunch. The energy-modulated electrons were spatially separated from the long bunch and used to generate ∼300-femtosecond synchrotron pulses at a bend-magnet beamline, with a spectral range from infrared to x-ray wavelengths. The same technique can be used to generate ∼100-femtosecond x-ray pulses of substantially higher flux and brightness with an undulator. Such synchrotron-based femtosecond x-ray sources offer the possibility of applying x-ray techniques on an ultrafast time scale to investigate structural dynamics in condensed matter.
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