Student Colloquium - Mykola Shcherbinin: Free electron lasers
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Supervisor: Marcel Mudrich
Free Electron Lasers (FELs) are the most advanced light sources combining the best from two worlds – lasers and conventional synchrotron radiation sources. Just as the latter, they are in principle tunable all across the electromagnetic spectrum, from terahertz radiation up to the X-ray domain. Akin to conventional lasers, they generate extremely intense, ultra short light pulses, reaching a peak brilliance more than 8 orders of magnitude higher than synchrotrons, and pulse durations down to less than one femtosecond. These unique properties make them the ideal tool to image individual nanoparticles and biomolecules, and to track their motion in real time, so as to record a “molecular movies”.
While only a few X-ray FELs are up and running worldwide (US, Japan, Germany, Italy), an increasing number of next generation X-FELs will come up in the near future, the most powerful one being the new European XFEL in Hamburg which has unprecedented properties in terms of photon energy, brilliance, and pulse rate. In my talk I will give a detailed introduction into the working principle of FELs, and present recent developments and selected applications.