Milestone for laser technology

Research team demonstrates free-electron laser driven by plasma accelerated electron beams and seeded by additional light pulses.

Extremely intense light pulses generated by free-electron lasers (FELs) are versatile tools in research. Particularly in the X-ray range, they can be deployed to analyze the details of atomic structures of a wide variety of materials and to follow fundamental ultrafast processes with great precision. Until now, FELs such as the European XFEL in Germany are based on conventional electron accelerators, which make them long and expensive. An international team led by Synchrotron SOLEIL, France, and Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), Germany, has now achieved a breakthrough on the way to an affordable alternative solution: they were able to demonstrate seeded FEL lasing in the ultraviolet regime based on a still young technology – laser-plasma acceleration. In the future, this might allow to build more compact systems, which would considerably expand the possible applications of FELs. The research collaboration presents their results in the journal Nature Photonics Nature Photonics (DOI: 10.1038/s41566-022-01104-w).

Read more on the HZDR website

Image: Together with colleagues from Synchrotron SOLEIL, LOA, PhLAM and HZDR, the German-French team succeeded for the first time in generating well-controllable laser light in a free-electron laser via plasma acceleration (Dr. Marie-Emanuelle Couprie, Dr. Arie Irman, Prof. Ulrich Schramm, Dr. Marie Labat, Dr. Amin Ghaiht, Dr. Maxwell LaBerge, Dr. Driss Oumbarek-Espinos, Dr. Alexandre Loulergue, Dr. Jurjen Couperus Cabadağ, Patrick Ufer, Dr. Yen-Yu Chang; from left to right)

Credit: HZDR/Sylvio Dittrich