Our group at Colorado State University is a leader in the development of compact plasma-based soft x-ray lasers that produce bright laser beams with wavelength up to 100 shorter than visible light. Laser amplification in a plasma column generates bright high energy pulses of soft x-ray light that enable experiments requiring intense pulses of coherent radiation at short wavelengths to be conducted in compact facilities. The plasma columns that amplifies these short wavelength laser beams are created with either a high power optical laser, or a powerful fast electrical discharge. Colorado State University demonstrated the world’s first table-top soft x-ray laser using a fast electrical discharge to ionize and excite argon gas contained in a capillary tube. These discharge-pumped e lasers operating at 46.9 nm are now used by many institutions word-wide in applications. Using laser-created plasmas Colorado State University has also demonstrated lasers at wavelengths as short as 6.8 nm . With the use of high repetition rate diode-pumped optical lasers developed in house Colorado State University has achieved the highest repetition rate soft x-ray lasers to date : 400Hz . These ultrashort wavelength lasers are used in applications that include exploring the nanoworld, determining the electronic structure and reactivity of nanoclusters and molecules, in the error-free printing of nanostructures, and in the diagnostics of dense plasmas that can not be penetrated with visible and ultraviolet lasers.
National Science Foundation & DoE Department of Energy
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