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Physics Department Colloquium
New Science Opportunities at X-ray Free Electron Lasers
Date: Friday, April 26th
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Uwe Bergmann, Stanford PULSE Institute, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Abstract: Over the past century X-rays have revolutionized numerous fields of science. Starting in the 1970s powerful new synchrotrons sources have dramatically advanced the scientific use of X-rays. In the last decade new X-ray free electron lasers, such as the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, have come to light. These coherent X-ray sources produce ultra-short pulses with a brightness that is ten billion times larger than synchrotron sources. For the first time scientist can study matter not just at the length scale of atoms and molecules, but also at the time scale of molecular motion. We will describe these machines and present some examples of recent X-ray laser research.

One example is our recent work on stimulated x-ray emission spectroscopy. Here, we have created inner shell x-ray fluorescence laser signals from manganese compounds. To achieve this exponential signal gain, we used highly focused ultrashort x-ray pump pulses from LCLS. The observed signal consisted of very short x-ray pulses up to 10^6 times stronger than normal x-ray fluorescence. Remarkably, these x-ray pulses preserved the small differences in fluorescence energy, caused by the different chemical surrounding of the manganese ions. We describe the phenomena and how we plan to apply this and similar approaches to learn more about transition metal systems and their function in catalysis, chemical, and materials science.
Host: Mark Eriksson
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