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Highly coherent and stable pulses from the FERMI seeded free-electron laser in the extreme ultraviolet

Abstract

Free-electron lasers (FELs) are promising devices for generating light with laser-like properties in the extreme ultraviolet and X-ray spectral regions. Recently, FELs based on the self-amplified spontaneous emission (SASE) mechanism have allowed major breakthroughs in diffraction and spectroscopy applications, despite the relatively large shot-to-shot intensity and photon-energy fluctuations and the limited longitudinal coherence inherent in the SASE mechanism. Here, we report results on the initial performance of the FERMI seeded FEL, based on the high-gain harmonic generation configuration, in which an external laser is used to initiate the emission process. Emission from the FERMI FEL-1 source occurs in the form of pulses carrying energy of several tens of microjoules per pulse and tunable throughout the 65 to 20 nm wavelength range, with unprecedented shot-to-shot wavelength stability, low-intensity fluctuations, close to transform-limited bandwidth, transverse and longitudinal coherence and full control of polarization.

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Figure 1: Schematic of the FERMI FEL-1.
Figure 2: Measured FEL intensity at 32.5 nm.
Figure 3: Measured beam profiles and double slit diffraction pattern.
Figure 4: Single-shot and multi-shot spectra at 32.5 nm.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the many people at Sincrotrone Trieste who contributed to this project, including the accelerator operations group, the electron and systems controls groups, the undulator systems design, X-ray diagnostics/optics, RF engineering, all engineering support teams, procurement and administration. Thanks are also extended to colleagues at Kyma S.r.l. for the timely construction and delivery of the undulators used in the present study. The resources that made possible the construction of FERMI were obtained and managed by G. Comelli, A. Franciosi and C. Rizzuto. The authors acknowledge support from the Italian Government, the Regional Government of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the European Commission, the European Research Council and the European Investment Bank.

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E.A. and G.D.N. co-wrote the first draft of the paper. All authors co-developed the FERMI concept, designed, constructed and tested the accelerator and FEL systems, performed experiments and analysed the data. S.V.M. was the FERMI project director in the first phase of the project. M.S. is the current FERMI project director.

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Correspondence to E. Allaria.

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Allaria, E., Appio, R., Badano, L. et al. Highly coherent and stable pulses from the FERMI seeded free-electron laser in the extreme ultraviolet. Nature Photon 6, 699–704 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2012.233

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