Scientists have long sought to explore the structure of matter at the atomic and molecular level. To achieve this, they have been working toward developing a self-amplified spontaneous emission x-ray free-electron laser. Recently, a team from the department of physics and astronomy at the University of California at Los Angeles have moved closer to reaching the x-ray wavelength region using this technique. The researchers reported large gain for amplified radiation at 16 µm and observed high-intensity fluctuations. They concluded that there was agreement between the theory and the experimental data, leading them to believe that such a laser could extend to shorter wavelenghs and eventually reach the x-ray region.