Special Reviews

Harnessing Attosecond Science in the Quest for Coherent X-rays

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Science  10 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5839, pp. 775-778
DOI: 10.1126/science.1143679

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Modern laser technology has revolutionized the sensitivity and precision of spectroscopy by providing coherent light in a spectrum spanning the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet wavelength regimes. However, the generation of shorter-wavelength coherent pulses in the x-ray region has proven much more challenging. The recent emergence of high harmonic generation techniques opens the door to this possibility. Here we review the new science that is enabled by an ability to manipulate and control electrons on attosecond time scales, ranging from new tabletop sources of coherent x-rays to an ability to follow complex electron dynamics in molecules and materials. We also explore the implications of these advances for the future of molecular structural characterization schemes that currently rely so heavily on scattering from incoherent x-ray sources.

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