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A new frontier for nonlinear optics: bright coherent kiloelectronvolt ultrafast x-rays generated on a tabletop

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 10:00am

Speaker Name(s): 

Henry Kapteyn

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Seminar Type/Subject

Event Details & Abstract: 

2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the first demonstration of the laser, which is a device based on scaling concepts of stimulated emission demonstrated in the microwave region of spectrum to much shorter visible wavelengths. Thus, it is natural that, ever since the laser was first invented, researchers have strived to create laser light at ever-shorter wavelengths, in the x-ray region of the spectrum. Coherent soft x-rays would provide revolutionary new capabilities for seeing the world, and in particular, to understand how the nanoworld works on its fundamental time and length scales.Our group has made dramatic progress in generating bright coherent x-ray beams in the past 3-4 years, by driving high harmonic generation with lasers at wavelengths in the 2 - 4 micron region. We can combine a record number of  photons through a >5000th order nonlinear optical process, and also do so efficiently for the first time. Furthermore, there is still much room for progress, with a potential for generating hard x-ray beams from tabletop lasers during the next 2-3 decades. The long-tern dream of having an -ray laser is thus becoming a reality! In this talk I will review our recent work[1] as well as work done in our group using these tabletop x-ray lasers to uncover new science.[1] T. Popmintchev, et al., "Bright Coherent UltrahighHarmonics in the keV X-Ray Regime from Mid-Infrared Femtosecond Lasers," Science, In press, 2012.

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