Skip to comments.Tabletop X-rays light up
Posted on 06/09/2012 12:14:48 PM PDT by neverdem
Compact device promises to open window on chemical reactions in the lab.
The pressurized, cylindrical chamber fits in the palm of Margaret Murnanes hand. Yet out of one end of the device comes an X-ray beam that packs almost as much punch as the light generated by massive particle accelerators.
Murnane and Henry Kapteyn, both physicists at JILA in Boulder, Colorado, a joint institute of the University of Colorado and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, have reported the first tabletop source of ultra-short, laser-like pulses of low energy, or soft, X-rays. The light, capable of probing the structure and dynamics of molecules, was previously available only at large, billion-dollar national facilities such as synchrotrons or free-electron lasers, where competition for use of the equipment is fierce. But the report by Murnane, Kapteyn and their colleagues, published in the 8 June issue of Science (T. Popmintchev et al. Science 336, 12871291; 2012), suggests that the devices might soon lie within the grasp of a university laboratory budget. For us, its incredible that we can do this at all in a tabletop system, says Murnane. Three years ago, people would have said only large facilities can do that.
Murnane and Kapteyn, a husband-and-wife team who also head the Boulder-based company KMLabs, already sell a similar tabletop source of extreme-ultraviolet light. Murnane thinks that a future soft X-ray source should cost about US$1 million, and hopes that its relatively low cost and small size will open up X-ray studies for materials scientists, biologists and others. The beams generated by the device could, for instance, help materials scientists to make better solar materials by tracking the paths of electrons through solar cells, and might allow chemists to trace the ultrafast dynamics of photosynthesis and catalysis. This is something people have been waiting...,
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Harmonic generation. 5000 photons in for one out. I-R diode laser is source. Out wavelength is 0.8 nm. Attosecond pulses.
That said, this could be the most significant news of the week, long term.
Well, the WI results are pretty signif, I’ll grant you.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
I remember 57 years ago, at a Buster Brown shoe store, inserting my foot into the bottom of a wooden tube and view my moving skeletal foot bones in the fluoroscope at the top of the tube. My mother took me seldom enough that I still have healthy feet.
Per ‘tabletop x-rays’: this is important because...it would make a terrific weapon? Toy? New cooking method?
Soft x-ray ping