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Single-shot terahertz-field-driven X-ray streak camera


A few-femtosecond X-ray streak camera has been realized using a pump–probe scheme that samples the transient response of matter to ionizing soft X-ray radiation in the presence of an intense synchronized terahertz field. Borrowing its concept from attosecond metrology, the femtosecond X-ray streak camera fills the gap between conventional streak cameras with typical resolutions of hundreds of femtoseconds and streaking techniques operating in the sub-femtosecond regime. Its single-shot capability permits the duration and time structure of individual X-ray pulses to be determined. For several classes of experiments in time-resolved spectroscopy, diffraction or imaging envisaged with novel accelerator- and laser-based short-pulse X-ray sources this knowledge is essential, but represents a major challenge to X-ray metrology. Here we report on the single-shot characterization of soft X-ray pulses from the free-electron laser facility FLASH.

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Figure 1: Schematic of the experimental setup.
Figure 2: Sampled terahertz vector potential.
Figure 3: Averaged photoelectron spectra.
Figure 4: Histogram of reconstructed pulse durations.
Figure 5: Single-shot photoelectron spectra.
Figure 6: Single-shot photoelectron spectra and reconstructed temporal structure.


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The authors thank the scientific and technical team at FLASH, in particular the machine operators and run coordinators. The authors also thank E. Saldin, E. Schneidmiller and M.V. Yurkov for valuable discussions and their assistance during the commissioning of the terahertz undulator beamline. Financial support from the EU project IA-SFS JRA2, the BMBF Program FSP 301-FLASH, the SFB-668 and the GrK-1355 is gratefully acknowledged.

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F.B., M.D., U.F., M.G., O.G., M.K., R.K., E.P., J.R., B.S., M.W.: preparation and execution of experiments. M.D., U.F., T.G.: simulation and data analysis.

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Correspondence to Markus Drescher.

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Frühling, U., Wieland, M., Gensch, M. et al. Single-shot terahertz-field-driven X-ray streak camera. Nature Photon 3, 523–528 (2009).

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