John R. Arthur, SLAC
Prospects for an X-ray Free-Electron-Laser Light Source and some Possible Scientific Applications
Physics Division Colloquium - 17 Dec. 1999

Free electron lasers (FEL's) are now being designed which will operate at wavelengths down to about one angstrom. Due to the physics of the high-gain, single pass FEL process that these sources will exploit, the radiation produced will have unique properties. In particular:

These properties offer the chance to study a wide range of chemical, biological, and condensed matter dynamical processes with sub-picosecond time resolution and angstrom spatial resolution. Several examples will be presented.

Exploration of the associated new x-ray techniques will require considerable development, not only in technical areas such as optics and detectors, but also in understanding the basic physics of the interaction of very intense x radiation with matter. A large collaboration of US institutions is now conducting preliminary research and development in these areas, with the intention of creating an FEL operating at 1.5 angstroms in about the year 2005. Germany also has a strong short-wavelength FEL research program, with a soft x-ray FEL under construction and a proposal for a future large facility which would produce a variety of hard and soft x-ray laser beams.

ANL Physics Division Colloquium Schedule