Intense radiation from lasers has opened up many new areas of research in physics and chemistry, and has revolutionized optical technology. So far, most work in the field of nonlinear processes has been restricted to infrared, visible and ultraviolet light1, although progress in the development of X-ray lasers has been made recently2. With the advent of a free-electron laser in the soft-X-ray regime below 100 nm wavelength3, a new light source is now available for experiments with intense, short-wavelength radiation that could be used to obtain deeper insights into the structure of matter. Other free-electron sources with even shorter wavelengths are planned for the future. Here we present initial results from a study of the interaction of soft X-ray radiation, generated by a free-electron laser, with Xe atoms and clusters. We find that, whereas Xe atoms become only singly ionized by the absorption of single photons, absorption in clusters is strongly enhanced. On average, each atom in large clusters absorbs up to 400 eV, corresponding to 30 photons. We suggest that the clusters are heated up and electrons are emitted after acquiring sufficient energy. The clusters finally disintegrate completely by Coulomb explosion.
Your institute does not have access to this article
Open Access articles citing this article.
Scientific Reports Open Access 25 May 2017
Scientific Reports Open Access 23 December 2016
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Batani, D., Joachain, C. J., Martellucci, S. & Chester, A. N. Atoms, Solids, and Plasmas in Super-Intense Laser Fields (Kluwer Academic, New York, 2001)
Smith, R. & Key, M. H. X-Ray Lasers 2000 (eds Jamelot, L. G., Möller, C. & Klinsnick, A.) 383–388 (EDP Science, Saint Malo, 2000)
Andruszkow, J. et al. First observation of self-amplified spontaneous emission in a free-electron laser at 109 nm wavelength. Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 3825–3828 (2000)
Ayvazyan, V. et al. Generation of GW radiation pulses from a VUV free-electron laser operating in the femtosecond regime. Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 104802 (2002)
Åberg, T., et al. DESY Report TESLA FEL 95-03 (DESY, Hamburg, 1995)
Materlik, G. & Tschentscher, T. (eds) DESY Report TESLA FEL 2001-05 (DESY, Hamburg, 2001)
Shenoy, G. K. & Stöhr, J. LCLS: The First Experiments (SLAC, Stanford, 2000).
Neutze, R., Wouts, R., van der Spoel, D., Weckert, E. & Haidu, J. Potential for biomolecular imaging with femtoscond X-ray pulses. Nature 406, 752–757 (2000)
Russek, M., Lagadec, H. & Blenski, T. Cluster explosion in an intense laser pulse: Thomas-Fermi model. Phys. Rev. A 63, 13203 (2000)
Synder, E. M., Buzza, S. A. & Castleman, A. W. Jr Intense field matter interactions: Multiple ionisation of clusters. Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 3347–3350 (1996)
Ditmire, T. et al. High-energy ions produced in explosions of superheated atomic clusters. Nature 386, 54–56 (1997)
Ditmire, T., Donnelly, T., Rubenchik, A. M., Falcone, R. W. & Perry, M. D. Interaction of intense pulses with atomic clusters. Phys. Rev. A 53, 3379–3402 (1996)
Lezius, M., Dobosz, S., Normand, D. & Schmidt, M. Explosion dynamics of rare gas clusters in strong laser fields. Phys. Rev. Lett. 80, 261–264 (1998)
Köller, L. et al. Plasmon-enhanced multi-ionization of small metal clusters in strong femtosecond laser fields. Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 3783–3786 (1999)
Shao, Y. L. et al. Multi-keV electron generation in the interaction of intense laser pulses with Xe clusters. Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 3343–3346 (1996)
Rose-Petruck, C., Schafer, K. J., Wilson, K. R. & Barty, C. P. J. Ultrafast electron dynamics and inner-shell ionization in laser driven clusters. Phys. Rev. A 55, 1182–1190 (1996)
Last, I. & Jortner, J. Quasiresonance ionization of large multicharged clusters in a strong laser field. Phys. Rev. A 60, 2215–2221 (1999)
Last, I. & Jortner, J. Dynamics of the Coulomb explosion of large clusters in a strong laser field. Phys. Rev. A 62, 13201 (2000)
Brewczyk, M., Clark, C. W., Lewenstein, M. & Rzazewski, K. Stepwise explosion of atomic clusters induced by a strong laser field. Phys. Rev. Lett. 80, 1857–1860 (1998)
Krainov, V. P. & Roshchupin, A. S. Dynamics of Coulomb explosion of large Xe clusters irradiated by a super-intense ultra-short laser pulse. J. Phys. B 34, L297–L303 (2001)
McPherson, A., Thompson, B. D., Borisov, A. B., Boyer, K. & Rhodes, C. K. Multiphoton-induced X-ray emission at 4-5 keV from Xe atoms with multiple core vacancies. Nature 370, 631–634 (1994)
Brewczyk, M. & Rzazewski, K. Over-the-barrier ionization of multi electron atoms by intense VUV free-electron laser. J. Phys. B 32, L1–L4 (1999)
Delone, N. B. & Krainov, V. P. Multiphoton Process in Atoms (ed. Lambropoulos, P.) 1–3 (Springer, Berlin, 2000)
Samson, J. A. R. New energy levels in xenon and krypton. Phys. Lett. 8, 107–108 (1964)
Aust, S., Strickland, D., Meyerhofer, D. D., Chin, S. L. & Eberly, J. H. Tunneling ionization of noble gases in a high-intensity laser field. Phys. Rev. Lett. 63, 2212–2215 (1989)
Brunel, F. Not-so resonant, resonant absorption. Phys. Rev. Lett. 59, 52–55 (1987)
Kostyukov, I. Y. Inverse-bremsstrahlung absorption of an intense laser field in cluster plasma. JETP Lett. 73, 393–397 (2001)
Hagena, O. F. Condensation in free jets: Comparison of rare gases and metals. Z. Phys. D 4, 291–299 (1987)
Karnbach, R., Joppien, M., Stapelfeldt, J., Wörmer, J. & Möller, T. CLULU: An experimental setup for luminescence measurements on van der Waals clusters with synchrotron radiation. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 64, 2838–2849 (1993)
We thank the TTF team at DESY, especially P. Castro, M. Minty, D. Nölle, H. Schlarb and S. Schreiber, for running the accelerator; we also thank J. R. Schneider for support and discussions. The first group of authors (H.W. to T.M.) built the apparatus for the cluster experiment and performed the experiment; the second group of authors (B.F. to M.Y) worked on the FEL and the diagnostics. We thank K.H. Meiwes-Broer, T. Brabec, C. Rose-Petruck, J. Krzywinski, M. Lezius, I. Kostyukov, J.M. Rost, E. Rühl, U. Saalman, J. Jortner and M. Smirnov and their research groups for discussions and comments, and J. Sutter for critically reading the manuscript. This work was supported by the DFG.
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Wabnitz, H., Bittner, L., de Castro, A. et al. Multiple ionization of atom clusters by intense soft X-rays from a free-electron laser. Nature 420, 482–485 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature01197
Complete reconstruction of bound and unbound electronic wavefunctions in two-photon double ionization
Nature Physics (2019)
Scientific Reports (2017)
Tailoring Ion Charge State Distribution in Tetramethyltin Clusters under Influence of Moderate Intensity Picosecond Laser Pulse: Role of Laser Wavelength and Rate of Energy Deposition
Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (2017)
Scientific Reports (2016)