UPTON, NY, Aug 15 -- Researchers from Brookhaven and Argonne, two US Energy Department laboratories, have broken ground in the creation of a new laser capable of generating extremely intense, coherent pulses of light. The new technology, called high gain harmonic generation free electron laser (HGHG FEL), will create new research opportunities in chemistry, biology and materials science, according to a report in the August 11 edition of the journal Science. The HGHG FEL offers the possibility of combining the intensity and coherence of a laser with the broad spectrum of light available in a synchrotron, a type of accelerator, said Li Hua Yu, the chief project investigator from Brookhaven. In a proof-of-principle experiment at Brookhaven's Accelerator Test Facility, the researchers substantiated the theoretical foundation of the HGHG FEL operating in the infrared. The scientists are now trying to polish the technique to yield pulses of shorter wavelength light in the deep ultraviolet spectral region, and eventually extend the approach to generate consistent, high-intensity pulses of X-rays.