Terahertz Experts Determine the Exact Duration of X-ray Pulses

News of April 17, 2013

Physicist Michael Gensch from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf was a member of the German-Polish research team which developed a new measurement method that permits the precise measurement of ultrafast X-ray pulses from free electron lasers. The results are published in the scientific journal "Nature Communications" (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2754).

For many experiments with light pulses from free electron lasers such as, for example, FLASH at the DESY in Hamburg or FELBE at the HZDR’s Center for High Performance Radiation Sources, it is important to know the exact point in time when the light strikes the sample to be examined. This has already been possible for light in the visible and infrared range from free electron lasers; however, these procedures cannot be transferred to X-ray pulses.

Under the heading "Scientists Measure X-ray Laser’s Heartbeat" the DESY Press Office has published the news about the innovative measurement technology for the pulse duration at the free electron laser FLASH.

The research team included scientists from Hamburg University, the Helmholtz-Institut Jena, DESY, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, the Center for Free Electron Laser Science, the University of Duisburg-Essen (all in Germany) as well as the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków, Poland.

Headed by Dr. Michael Gensch, a terahertz facility is currently being set up at the HZDR. “We’re at the beginning of a long development phase and are moving at the limits of what is technically feasible. We hope, we’ll be able to decide in 2015 whether TELBE can actually be operated as a regular experimental facility,” explains Dr. Gensch. “In any case, though, it’s a globally unique facility which allows us to study electron pulses of accelerators or to develop concepts for the operation of such large-scale research facilities as the European X FEL in Hamburg.”

Original Publication: "Single-shot pulse duration monitor for extreme ultraviolet and X-ray free-electron lasers"; Robert Riedel et al.; Nature Communications (2013); DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2754.