Advanced Experimental System Generates Attosecond Bursts of EUV Light

A research team has developed an advanced experimental system that is capable of producing attosecond bursts of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light.

The American Institute of Physics has accepted a paper describing the cutting-edge experimental system for publication in its journal, Review of Scientific Instruments. According to the research team, these attosecond bursts of EUV light are extremely short controllable light pulses that can be used to perform real-time measurement of electron dynamics in matter. Developments in attosecond science will help researchers to corroborate theories describing the behavior of matter at its basic level and the working mechanisms of key chemical reactions like photosynthesis.

Further advancements may ultimately pave the way to the manipulation of chemical reactions. Co-author, Felix Frank, from the Imperial College in London, informed that knowledge on the working mechanism of matter at its electron level opens the door to innovative scientific technologies and tools. This understanding will be helpful in designing high-efficient solar cells, enhanced drugs, and other breakthrough products.

The research team has used the high harmonic generation process to generate these attosecond pulses. A high-power femtosecond laser system is the basic technology of the advanced experimental system developed at Imperial College. The near infrared femtosecond laser pulses are compressed in time by accumulating them through a waveguide and a sequence of specialized mirrors, enabling accurate control over the waveforms of these pulses. The research team then focuses the compressed pulses onto a gas target to generate an attosecond burst of EUV radiation. This experimental system can precisely measure and deliver the attosecond pulses to various tests along with other accurately synchronized laser pulses.

Will Soutter

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Will Soutter

Will has a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Durham, and a M.Sc. in Green Chemistry from the University of York. Naturally, Will is our resident Chemistry expert but, a love of science and the internet makes Will the all-rounder of the team. In his spare time Will likes to play the drums, cook and brew cider.


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