Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cheap lasers could capture electrons in motion - New Scientist - New Scientist

Cheap lasers could capture electrons in motion: "a new scheme could produce 60-attosecond pulses with commercial lasers. Attosecond pulses are not generated directly from a laser, but by using longer laser pulses to excite electrons in a cloud of noble-gas atoms. These atoms respond by releasing bursts of radiation at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, each under 100 attoseconds long. To work, the laser pulses must be no longer than 11 femtoseconds (a femtosecond is 10-15 seconds) – but the shortest pulses commercial lasers can manage are 25 femtoseconds long.
The new scheme, proposed by Songsong Tang and Xianfeng Chen of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, uses a commercial laser capable of generating 30-femtosecond pulses of red light to trigger the extreme ultraviolet pulses."

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