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Synchrotron radiation from an accelerating light pulse

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Science  26 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6413, pp. 439-442
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat5915

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Shrinking synchrotron generation

The generation of synchrotron radiation is typically achieved by accelerating charges in large magnetic fields. Synchrotron facilities are usually the realm of large international organizations. Henstridge et al. show that the interaction of a femtosecond light pulse moving in an arc on a specially designed metasurface can also generate synchrotron radiation. In this case, the synchrotron radiation at terahertz frequencies was produced by the nonlinear polarization induced by the light pulse. The results hold promise for the development of powerful on-chip light sources.

Science, this issue p. 439

Abstract

Synchrotron radiation—namely, electromagnetic radiation produced by charges moving in a curved path—is regularly generated at large-scale facilities where giga–electron volt electrons move along kilometer-long circular paths. We use a metasurface to bend light and demonstrate synchrotron radiation produced by a subpicosecond pulse, which moves along a circular arc of radius 100 micrometers inside a nonlinear crystal. The emitted radiation, in the terahertz frequency range, results from the nonlinear polarization induced by the pulse. The generation of synchrotron radiation from a pulse revolving about a circular trajectory holds promise for the development of on-chip terahertz sources.

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