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SACLA Laser Sets Record

Photonics.com
Jun 2011
WAKO, Japan, June 16, 2011 — The research institute RIKEN and the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute announced the successful production of a beam of x-ray laser light with a wavelength of 1.2 Angstroms, the shortest ever measured.

The record-breaking light was created using SACLA, an x-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) facility unveiled by RIKEN in February 2011 in Harima, Japan. SACLA, or Spring-8 Angstrom Compact free-electron LAser, opens a window into the structure of atoms and molecules at an unprecedented level of detail.

Until recently, it was inconceivable to explore the miniature structure of matter. Now, by using the ultrahigh-intensity x-ray free-electron laser light, we can visualize the atomic world.

An XFEL provides much shorter wavelengths and higher intensities than other lasers, enabling researchers to directly observe and manipulate objects on an unrivaled scale and opening up research opportunities in fields ranging from medicine and drug discovery to nanotechnology.

SACLA — one of only two facilities in the world to offer the novel light source — delivers radiation 1 billion times brighter with pulses 1000 times shorter than existing x-ray sources. In late March, the facility marked a milestone with beam acceleration to 8 GeV and spontaneous x-rays of 0.8 Angstroms.

Three months later, SACLA has successfully increased the density of the electron beam by several hundred times, guiding it with a precision of several micrometers to produce a bright x-ray laser with a record-breaking wavelength of 1.2 Angstroms. This new measurement has exceeded the previous 1.2 Angstroms set at the only ohter operational XFEL facility in the world, the Linac Coherent Light Source in California.

Experiments will soon commence, and user operations at the facility will begin by the end of fiscal 2011.

For more information, visit: 
www.riken.jp  


GLOSSARY
angstrom
(Å) Unit of length equal to 10-10 meter. 10 angstroms = 1 nanometer. Not an SI unit.
nanotechnology
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
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