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Tabletop Laser Packs a Punch

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Science  04 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5395, pp. 1794
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5395.1794a

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A team of scientists has made a tabletop x-ray laser that can deliver rapid-fire pulses of x-rays comparable to those of some synchrotron sources. Described in an upcoming paper in Physical Review Letters, the tabletop device, powered by electric discharges, could relieve some of the seemingly insatiable appetite for new x-ray sources to study the structure of materials and biomolecules. Although the source emits very low-energy, or "soft," x-rays, verging on the ultraviolet, at a single frequency, all wavelengths are of interest to researchers.