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Free-Electron Lasers Come of Age

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A quarter century after their invention, free-electron lasers are driving worldwide investigations.

H. Frederick Dylla and Steven T. Corneliussen, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Free-electron lasers in 2005 are where airplanes were in 1925: well established as a useful new technology, but with enormous untapped potential — and lots of people seeking to tap it. As with other light sources, from tabletop lasers in university laboratories to stadium-size synchrotron rings, free-electron lasers serve bioscience, chemistry, solid-state physics, advanced materials and other research. But science itself has still bigger plans for these selectable-wavelength sources of coherent, monochromatic light, as do the manufacturing, medical and military industries, where they are...Read full article

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