Ever since the invention of the laser 50 years ago, scientists have been striving to extend coherent laser-like beams into the X-ray region of the spectrum. Very recently, we used tabletop mid-infrared femtosecond lasers to achieve this goal, and create bright X-ray beams at wavelengths spanning from the UV to < 10Å . The X‑ray supercontinua that are generated represent a coherent version of the Röntgen X-ray tube in the soft X-ray region. X-rays are powerful probes of the nanoworld. They penetrate thick samples and can image small objects with spatial resolution near the wavelength limit. Interest in this research area is booming worldwide, because of the critical need for better tools for a host of applications in science and technology. Moreover, the limits of this new light source are not yet known.
 T. Popmintchev et al., Science 336, 1287 (2012).
Argonne Physics Division Colloquium Schedule