A high-intensity highly coherent soft X-ray femtosecond laser seeded by a high harmonic beam

Abstract : Synchrotrons have for decades provided invaluable sources of soft X-rays, the application of which has led to significant progress in many areas of science and technology. But future applications of soft X-rays—in structural biology, for example—anticipate the need for pulses with much shorter duration (femtoseconds) and much higher energy (millijoules) than those delivered by synchrotrons. Soft X-ray free-electron lasers1 should fulfil these requirements but will be limited in number; the pressure on beamtime is therefore likely to be considerable. Laser-driven soft X-ray sources offer a comparatively inexpensive and widely available alternative, but have encountered practical bottlenecks in the quest for high intensities. Here we establish and characterize a soft X-ray laser chain that shows how these bottlenecks can in principle be overcome. By combining the high optical quality available from high-harmonic laser sources (as a seed beam) with a highly energetic soft X-ray laser plasma amplifier, we produce a tabletop soft X-ray femtosecond laser operating at 10 Hz and exhibiting full saturation, high energy, high coherence and full polarization. This technique should be readily applicable on all existing laser-driven soft X-ray facilities.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 1, 2010 - 11:20:23 AM
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Philippe Zeitoun, Gabriel Faivre, Stéphane Sebban, Tomas Mocek, A. Hallou, et al.. A high-intensity highly coherent soft X-ray femtosecond laser seeded by a high harmonic beam. Nature, Nature Publishing Group, 2004, 431, pp.426-429. ⟨10.1038/nature02883⟩. ⟨hal-00522630⟩

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