Physics

Purifying X-ray Pulses

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Science  31 Oct 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5902, pp. 651
DOI: 10.1126/science.322.5902.651b

Static structural information on solids is now routinely obtained in exquisite detail using coherent x-rays at synchrotron facilities. Probing of the dynamics of structural and electronic phase transitions can also be achieved using pulses of x-rays on the relevant time scales—picosecond and femtosecond—but the generation of such x-ray pulses is not trivial and the techniques are still under development. The usual route to obtain pulses of light is to use a cavity, with the output period of the pulses on the order of the return transit time of the cavity. However, it has been difficult to control the phase of the cycling x-rays within the cavity, leading to incoherent pulses. Based on the principle of reflection and trapping within the cavity, but using diffraction from crystallographic planes of silicon, Chen et al. have developed a Fabry-Perot type of cavity for x-rays. They demonstrate the ability to maintain coherence and form standing waves within the cavity, obtaining promising results toward the goal of obtaining a high-brightness source of quasi-coherent x-ray pulses for probing the dynamics of structural and electronic transitions. — ISO

Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 141105 (2008).

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