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Instrumentation for Ultrafast X-ray Science


The Department of Energy seeks to advance ultrafast science dealing with physical phenomena that occur in the range of one-trillionth of a second (one picosecond) to less than one-quadrillionth of a second (one femtosecond). The physical phenomena motivating this subtopic include the direct observation of the formation and breaking of chemical bonds, and structural rearrangements in both isolated molecules and the condensed phase. These phenomena are typically probed using extremely short pulses of laser light. Ultrafast technology also would be applicable in other fields, including atomic and molecular physics, chemistry and chemical biology, coherent control of chemical reactions, materials sciences, magnetic- and electric field phenomena, optics, and laser engineering.

Grant applications are sought to develop and improve laser-driven, table-top x-ray sources and critical component technologies suitable for ultrafast characterization of transient structures of energized molecules undergoing dissociation, isomerization, or intramolecular energy redistribution. The x-ray sources may be based on, for example, high-harmonic generation to create bursts of x-rays on subfemtosecond time scales, laser-driven Thomson scattering and
betatron emission, and laser-driven K-shell emission. Approaches of interest include: (1) highaverage-power ultrafast sources that achieve the state-of-the-art in short-pulse duration, phase stabilization and coherence, and high duty cycle; (2) driving lasers that operate at wavelengths longer than typical in current CPA titanium sapphire laser systems; and (3) characterization and control technologies capable of measuring and controlling the intensity, temporal, spectral, and
phase characteristics of these ultrashort x-ray pulses.

Questions – contact Michael Casassa,

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