STATES CHRONICLE – This week, the biggest X-ray laser in the world has produced the first X-ray laser light. This ended all preparations for the official opening of the European X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) which is bound to take place at the beginning of September.
The shortest wavelength
This X-ray laser is located in Hamburg, Germany. This laser has a wavelength shorter than any other visible one existent, and it measures 0.8 nanometers. At first, the laser produced one pulse per second but, after some time, it will reach 27,000 pulses. This exceeds the capacity of any other X-ray laser existent, namely 120 pulses.
Robert Feidenhans is the director of the European XFEL. He declared that this was a great achievement both for their facility, and for technology in general.
“The facility, to which many countries around the world contributed know-how and components, has passed its first big test with flying colors.”
Producing the most powerful laser light
This facility measures 2.1 miles, is situated in the underground. Most of its surface is occupied by the accelerator tunnel. Here, the electrons are accelerated to create the pulses of laser light. Then, they reach a speed closer to the speed of light when they enter a photon tunnel, where X-ray is generated.
This tunnel is also equipped with magnets, which cause the oscillation of the electron pulses. They oscillate in a zig-zag pattern and, after each short pattern, the X-ray with short wavelength gets released.
As mentioned above, the X-ray laser light produced is quite unique. It is much more intense than any other similar light, and around a billion times brighter than traditional sources of light. Also, given the fact that the wavelength is so short, it can magnify microscopic objects up to atomic resolution.
This is the first X-ray laser light ever produced, and it represents the most powerful accelerator in the world. Therefore, researchers will now be able to obtain clearer images of molecules and observe how chemical reactions bond.
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