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free-electron laser (FEL)

A laser, potentially yielding very high power levels and theoretically capable of being tuned over a wide range from the soft x-ray region to the millimeter, that produces stimulated emission by passing a beam of free -- that is, not bound to an atom or molecule -- electrons through an undulator or "wiggler.'' The undulator creates a magnetic field of alternating polarity (in another version it guides the electrons along a helical path), causing the electrons to "wiggle" and thus release radiation.
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